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Japanese retail sales slide, as Kingfisher hit by weak French economy - business live

Retail spending takes a tumble in Japan as the sales tax hike kicks in, as retail chain Kingfisher reports that French economy remains weak

The big news overnight is that Japanese retail sales took a real tumble last month, as the country's sales tax hit consumers.

Japanese retail sales fell by 4.4% on an annual basis in April, the biggest fall in three years (since the Fukushima disaster), as people cut back on purchases of cars and electronics.

In one encouraging sign, declines in sales of apparel and toiletries were limited, which suggests consumer spending will pick up in May in line with the Bank of Japan's scenario, but there are worries that a recovery in durable goods could take more time.

"There are signs that declines in spending on daily necessities is already bottoming out, which supports a gradual recovery in spending," said Shuji Tonouchi, senior fixed income strategist at Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley Securities.

Good morning, and welcome to our rolling coverage of the financial market, the world economy, the eurozone and business.

Lots of corporate news knocking around this morning -- with results from retail chain Kingfisher, sugar-maker Tate & Lyle and water firm Severn Trent.

Just published: front page of the Financial Times UK edition Thu May 29 pic.twitter.com/82iTlK0U6M

Bond prices continued to rise yesterday, but this time it wasnt just US, UK and German bonds that were in demand but peripheral bonds as well.

US treasuries hit their lowest yield since July last year while both German bunds and UK gilts headed back towards their 10 month lows set earlier this month.

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