A woman walks outside a fashion boutique in a shopping district in Tokyo, Japan, September 29, 2016. Reuters/Toru Hanai/File Photo

Japan’s core consumer prices marked the ninth straight month of annual declines and household spending slumped in November, data showed on Tuesday.

In neighboring South Korea, consumer sentiment fell to the worst level in more than 7-1/2 years in December, a central bank survey showed.

Core consumer prices in Tokyo, a leading indicator of nationwide price trends, fell at the fastest pace in nearly four years, highlighting the challenges policymakers face in eradicating Japan’s sticky deflationary mindset.

Meantime, Koreans anticipated a weaker economy amid political crisis and turbulent financial markets.

The composite consumer sentiment index fell to 94.2 in December from 95.8 in November, the Bank of Korea said. A reading below 100 indicates pessimists outnumber optimists in their expectation of economic and living conditions for the coming month.

The December reading is the lowest since April 2009, when the index was the same level, and marks a further decline from November, when it tumbled to 95.8 from 101.9 a month earlier.

Japan’s core consumer price index, which includes oil products but excludes volatile fresh food prices, slipped 0.4 percent in November from a year earlier, government data showed, compared with a median market forecast for a 0.3 percent fall.

Core consumer prices in Tokyo, available a month before the nationwide data, fell 0.6 percent in December from a year earlier, as weak clothing sales forced retailers to cut prices.

It was the biggest annual drop since February 2013, when prices fell by the same margin, and exceeded the 0.4 percent drop projected by analysts in a Reuters poll.

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