Japan’s first-quarter economic growth was stronger than first thought, revised data showed Monday, as Tokyo ushers in sweeping reforms and a mixed bag of monetary and fiscal policy.
The world’s third-largest economy grew at an annualised rate of 4.1 per cent, up from a preliminary reading of 3.5 per cent, and surging ahead of many other industrialised nations struggling to stoke their economies.
“The upward revision… confirmed that the Japanese economy remains on a firm recovery track,” said Hideki Matsumura, senior economist with the Japan Research Institute.
The annualised data, which shows the level of growth if the data were stretched over an entire year, comes as economists sift through recent economic figures for signs an economy-boosting plan by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his hand-picked team at the Bank of Japan was taking hold.
The policy prescription of big government spending and aggressive central bank easing to stoke Japan’s limp economy, dubbed “Abenomics”, has helped push the yen into a steep decline which benefits Japan’s exporters.
Also Monday, the Cabinet office said revised figures for real GDP showed Japan’s economy grew 1.0 per cent in the first three months of the year, slightly better than preliminary 0.9 per cent growth.
“We expect the economy will continue to grow for now but consumer spending may be dampened in the current quarter after a sizeable adjustment in the Nikkei index,” Matsumura said, referring to a recent drop in the Tokyo stock market.
Also Monday, official figures showed Japan posted a surplus on its current account for the third straight month in April, as the weaker yen helped boost the value of income from overseas investments.
Japan’s surplus doubled on-year to 750 billion yen (US$7.6 billion) in its current account, the broadest measure of trade with the rest of the world, helping offset a widening trade deficit.
Japan’s import bills have soared in the wake of the Fukushima atomic crisis two years ago which saw Tokyo turn to pricey fossil-fuel alternatives after switching off the disaster-struck country’s nuclear reactors.
Source : Channel News Asia, AFP | 10 June 2013