Japan's retail trade increased 1.2 percent from a year earlier in May 2019, following a downwardly revised 0.4 percent climb in the previous month and matching market expectations. It was the fastest growth pace in five months. The increase was mainly explained by a 2.0 percent rebound for motor vehicle sales, after falling 1.7 percent in the previous month. Also, sales of fabrics apparel & accessories rebounded 4.1 percent after a 0.5 percent drop. In addition, machinery & equipment sales grew 5.6 percent after expanding 2.1 percent. In contrast, general merchandise sales shrank 2.0 percent (versus -3.4 percent). On a monthly basis, retail sales rose 0.3 percent after remaining unchanged in April. Retail Sales YoY in Japan averaged 4.54 percent from 1971 until 2019, reaching an all time high of 36.50 percent in January of 1979 and a record low of -14.30 percent in March of 1998.
Retail Sales YoY in Japan is expected to be 2.10 percent by the end of this quarter, according to Trading Economics global macro models and analysts expectations. Looking forward, we estimate Retail Sales YoY in Japan to stand at 1.00 in 12 months time. In the long-term, the Japan Retail Sales is projected to trend around 0.90 percent in 2020, according to our econometric models.