Retail sales in New Zealand and Singapore have fallen by record amounts, while consumer confidence among Japanese shoppers has risen. Retail sales in New Zealand in the first quarter fell by a seasonally adjusted 1.2 per cent year on year, as consumers face rising unemployment. Retail sales in Singapore fell 7.3 per cent year on year in March, creating the longest series of declining sales since 2002.

Meanwhile, Japanese shoppers’ confidence rose to a 10-month high in April, according to official data. The consumer confidence index rose to 32.4 for the month, up from 28.9 in March. The sentiment boost followed the Japanese government’s ¥25 trillion (£170.66bn) stimulus plan.