Japan Household Spending Down 0.5% in Feb.

TOKYO (Jiji Press) — Consumption spending by households comprising two or more members in Japan in February averaged ¥279,868, falling 0.5% from a year before in price-adjusted real terms, internal affairs ministry data showed Friday.

Although spending dropped for the 12th straight month, the margin of decline narrowed from 6.3% in January due to the leap year. Without the factor, the rate of decline stood at 2.7%.

By category, gas, electricity and water bills fell 18.6%. Electricity bills declined by 25.4%, and gas bills by 14.0%, on lower demand for heating amid the warm winter.

Automobile-related expenditures dipped 2.2%. Sales of car-related goods such as car navigation systems decreased as an automaker suspended vehicle shipments.

Expenditures on domestic package tours plunged 40.3% after high demand a year earlier backed by a government-run travel promotion campaign.

On the other hand, spending on food increased 2.0%, up for the first time in 17 months, with expenditures on eating out up 10.3%. If the leap year effect is excluded, food spending as a whole went down.

Of education spending, tuition fees including entrance examination and admission fees surged 56.4% apparently because of an increase in the number of private junior high school candidates.