Japan Housing Starts Fall Unexpectedly In December

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Japan's housing starts declined for the sixth successive month in December, defying economists' forecast for an increase, data from the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism showed Wednesday.

Housing starts dropped 2.1 percent year-over-year in December, faster than the 0.4 percent fall in November. Meanwhile, economists had expected a 1.1 percent rise for the month.

Annualized housing starts decreased to 936,000 in December from 962,000 in the preceding month. It was forecast to fall to 935,000.

Data also showed that construction orders received by big 50 contractors declined 8.1 percent yearly in December, reversing a 20.5 percent surge in November.