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Japanese Retail Sales And Factory Output Increase

1 March 2010

BBC News

Japan's retail sales rose in January for the first time in 17 months, figures have shown.

Separately, industrial output rose for the 11th consecutive month due to rising demand from China - the country's biggest export market.

Retail sales rose 2.6% from a year earlier and factory output rose at an annual rate of 2.5% in January, the Economics Ministry said.

However, consumer prices fell for the 11th straight month.

The country's key consumer price index - excluding volatile fresh food prices - fell 1.3% in the year to the end of January, according to the Ministry of Communications.

"Japanese exports of vehicles and construction material to China underlined booming demand in the country," said Hiroshi Watanabe, economist at Daiwa Institute of Research.

Deflation, a drop in the cost of goods, has been a constant problem in Japan - the world's second-largest economy - for more than 20 years.

Earlier this month, the country's finance minister setting a target for price rises of 1%, reiterating the commitment to beating deflation.

Interest rates in Japan are just above zero, meaning there is little room to cut rates to stimulate growth.

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