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Japan Housing Starts Fall; Consumer Confidence Improves

Japan's housing starts declined for the tenth month in a row in April and consumer confidence improved in May, data showed on Friday.

Housing starts decreased 12.9 percent year-on-year in April, following a 7.6 percent fall in March, data from the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism revealed.

This was the tenth consecutive decrease in housing starts. Economists had forecast an annual 12.1 percent decline.

Annualized housing starts decreased to 797,000 in April from 905,000 in the previous month.

Data also showed that construction orders received by big 50 contractors fell 14.2 percent on year in April, following a 14.2 percent decrease in March.

On a seasonally adjusted basis, the consumer confidence index increased to 24.0 in May from 21.6 in April, the Cabinet Office revealed.

All the four sub-indexes of the consumer confidence index, the index reflecting overall livelihood rose to 25.0 in May and income growth increased to 27.8.

Households' willingness to buy durable consumer goods rose to 26.3 and the index for employment increased to 16.8.

The latest survey was conducted on May 15 covering 8,400 households.

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