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Japanese Services Sector Continues to Decline in November
Jan 25, 2003

Services industries in Japan, which has exhibited a considerable volatility during the past decade, declined 0.7% in November, according to the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry's tertiary Sector Index of economic activity. This is the fourth month of continued decline and the worst reading since July 2000. Given the important contribution of the tertiary sector to the overall economy, experts anticipate a considerable decline in output during the last quarter of 2002.

Leasing activities, as well as amusement and recreation services, experienced the worst declines during November. In turn, utilities, which groups the most resilient services industries during the past decade continued to experience important growth rates of 3.1%. Transport, which has undergone a sharp decline during the 1990s and well in to this decade exhibited a 0.4% increase in November motivated by the persistent growth in air transport freight. Other types of transport including maritime and train transport continued to decline. Passenger transport and travel services also declined and continue to experience considerable weakness.

Wholesale and retail trade increased by 1.2% in November with respect to the previous month. However, the level of activity in November is still bellow that experienced during the first quarter of 2002 and considerably less than the level of activity experienced in the late 1990s. The industries that spurred most of the growth in November were retail sales of general merchandise and house appliances.

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