— Japan Nov Retail Sales Up Y/Y Despite Sharp Drop in Auto Sales
— Japan Nov Retail Auto Sales -26.6% Y/Y Vs Oct Revised -23.9%
— Japan Nov Retail Fuel Sales +8.6% Y/Y Vs Oct Unrev +4.8%

TOKYO (MNI) – Japanese retail sales rose 1.3% in November from a
year earlier, posting the first year-on-year rise in two months, as
sales of fuel increased, data from the Ministry of Economy, Trade and
Industry released on Tuesday showed.

The November figure came in much stronger than the median forecast
for 0.2% gain in an MNI survey of economists.

Fuel sales rose 8.6% y/y in November, accelerating from the 4.8%
rise in October.

The average price of regular gasoline in Japan rose to Y133.7
($1.60) per liter, or $6.1 per gallon, last week from Y133.2 from the
previous week, posting the fourth straight weekly rise.

The price was up by 6.0% from Y126.1 per liter a year earlier.

Automobile sales plunged 26.6% year-on-year in November, the second
consecutive y/y fall (-23.9% in October, the first fall in 17 months),
after the government ended subsidies for buying fuel-efficient vehicles
in September.

Retail sales have recovered from -5.7% in February 2009, which was
the largest y/y drop in seven years. In January 2010, retail sales rose
2.3%, the first y/y gain in 17 months and have risen every month since.

In November, sales rose in four of the seven major categories on a
year-on-year basis: machinery and equipment including consumer
electronics (+46.1%), fuel (+8.6%), food and beverages (+3.3%) and other
retail sales (+2.5%).

In addition to the sharp drop in auto sales, a year-on-year decline
was also seen in sales at department stores and supermarkets (-1.1%).

Sales of machinery and equipment marked the 15th consecutive y/y
gain, thanks to the government’s reward program for purchases of greener
consumer electronics including flat-screen TVs, refrigerators and air
conditioners.

The pace of y/y gains in this category picked up from a revised
+17.9% in October, +8.4% in September and +9.9% in August.

Other details from the latest data:

Commercial sales, or combined sales at the wholesale and retail
levels (y/y): November +5.1%, the ninth consecutive y/y rise, following
a revised +0.3% in October, +1.5% in September and recovering from the
record drop of -24.3% marked in May 2009.

Sales at the wholesale level (y/y): November +6.6%, the fourth
consecutive y/y rise after +0.4% in October and recovering from the
record fall of -30.3% hit in May 2009.

Large retail store sales on a same-store adjusted basis (y/y):
November +0.2%, the second consecutive y/y rise following a +0.4% in
October.

Large retail store sales, unadjusted (y/y): November +0.7%, the
second consecutive y/y rise after +1.3% in October.

tokyo@marketnews.com
** Market News International Tokyo Newsroom: 81-3-5403-4835 **

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