Household spending down for 2nd straight month

The latest figures from Japan's internal affairs ministry show consumer confidence slipping again. Household spending for April dropped more than officials had expected.

A ministry survey suggests households with two or more people spent about 1.7 percent less than they did last April, when adjusted for inflation.

Those figures include an 8.1 percent plunge in spending on transport and communications. Some of that drop is due to the lockdowns in Shanghai disrupting the supply of auto parts.

Spending on food slipped 2.1 percent. Recent weather saw vegetable prices soar and the demand fall away.

The clothing sector bucked the trend, with an 8.7 percent increase in spending in the weeks leading up to the spring holiday period known as Golden Week.

Ministry officials say they are keeping a close eye on the impact of price increases that stem from the weather, lockdowns and the war in Ukraine.