A handful of April readings on Japan's economy came in better than expected, but analysts don't think that will deter Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's apparent drive to delay a planned sales tax hike.
The sales tax delay is "pretty much a done deal," Marcel Thieliant, senior Japan economist at Capital Economics, said in a phone interview. "If he's made up his mind, I don't think today's data will change anything."
The data released before the market open on Tuesday painted a slightly healthier picture of Japan's economy, but Thieliant noted the figures weren't particularly strong.
Industrial production in April rose 0.3 percent from the previous month, coming in well above expectations for a 1.5 percent contraction in the wake of disruptions caused by an earthquake.
Other data also beat expectations.
Household spending in April rose 0.2 percent from the previous month, compared with forecasts from a Reuters poll for a 0.6 percent drop. On a year-on-year basis, household spending fell 0.4 percent, but that still beat a Reuters poll forecast for a 1.4 percent drop.
Abe appears to be floating the idea of delaying a sales tax hike planned for 2017 amid anemic economic growth and essentially non-existent inflation. The hike, originally planned for October, has already been delayed once.