Japanese retail sales rose for the ninth straight month in November, according to data released Tuesday, as the lifting of COVID-19 border controls and a government subsidy on domestic travel boosted consumer demand.

However, sales fell from October as rising staple prices weighed on Japanese households, while the core consumer inflation rate hit a new 40-year high, indicating that the price increase was spreading.

The recovery of private consumption, which accounts for more than half of the Japanese economy, is key to boosting growth in the economy, which contracted unexpectedly in the third quarter.

Retail sales grew 2.6% over the previous year, but below the average forecast of 3.7%. The annual growth rate of sales, a barometer of private consumption, slowed down, since it was 4.4% in October and 4.8% in September.

In seasonally adjusted terms, retail sales fell 1.1% in November from the previous month, for the first time in five months.

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