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27 Dec 2021
Japan's Nov Retail Sales rise Amid Looming Omicron Risks
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Government data showed on Monday, Japan's retail sales rise at 1.9% faster than economists expected in November and it is said that this is due to the decreasing COVID-19 cases in the month, which have encouraged shoppers to spend on goods and services.
To support the country’s economy, Japan's parliament last week passed a $317 billion extra budget that includes payouts to families and businesses hit by the pandemic while the government currently approved a record of $940 billion budget for fiscal 2022.
Prospects of recover from the retail sales are clouded by uncertainties around the new Omicron COVID-19 variant, which already started to spread in the community last week in Japan's largest cities.
Masato Koike, senior economist at Dai-ichi Life Research Institute said, "So far, consumers haven't been too concerned with the Omicron as foot traffic data still shows increase."
The government said on Thursday it was not considering immediate changes to domestic COVID-19 restrictions due to the Omicron.
Koike said, adding returning travellers during the holiday season could spread infections, "But if new infections jump...there is a risk, or a likelihood at this point, that consumption will be suppressed by the Omicron."