Japan's household spending falls for 13th straight month as consumers hold back

Spending by Japan's households fell in March, logging a 13th-straight month of decline, as consumers held back in the face of rising prices.

Figures released on Friday by the internal affairs ministry show households of two or more people spent an average of 318,713 yen, or about 2,050 dollars, in March.

That's down 1.2 percent in yen terms from a year earlier, adjusted for inflation.

Expenses related to social activities usually rise during March, as it marks the end of the fiscal year. These include farewell gifts for people retiring or being transferred to different work locations. The figure this year is down 20.9 percent from a year earlier due to higher commodity prices.
Utility expenses were affected by a record mild winter. Electricity bills dropped 19.2 percent and gas by 9.3 percent on reduced use of air conditioners and gas heaters.

The ministry also released figures for fiscal 2023. Household spending fell 3.2 percent from the previous year due to the effects of inflation. The decline is the first in three years.