Japan Q4 GDP grows for fourth straight quarter on exports

Published Mon, Feb 13, 2017 · 12:47 AM

[TOKYO] Japan's economy expanded for a fourth straight quarter in the October-December period as strong trade demand and a pickup in capital expenditure underscored a steady export-led recovery.

Cabinet Office data on Monday showed the world's third-largest economy grew an annualised one per cent in the final three months of 2016, roughly in line with the 1.1 per cent increase markets had expected, following a revised 1.4 per cent expansion in July-September.

The data should be a relief to government and Bank of Japan policymakers who aim to sustain growth and pull the economy out of deflation and stagnation. However, uncertainty over US President Donald Trump's policies has cast a cloud over export-reliant Japan as domestic demand remains underpowered, analysts say.

The preliminary reading for fourth-quarter gross domestic product (GDP) figure translated into 0.2 per cent growth on a quarter-on-quarter basis, versus a 0.3 per cent gain expected by analysts.

External demand - or exports minus imports - contributed 0.2 percentage point to GDP, due to a rise in shipments from a pick up in car demand from China and the United States, and electronics parts from Asia.

Private consumption, which accounts for roughly 60 per cent of GDP, showed no growth, largely in line with a flat reading forecast by economists. Rising prices of fresh food and vegetables are likely to have dented households' purchasing power.

Capital expenditure, a key component of GDP, rose 0.9 per cent, reversing from a 0.3 per cent decline in the third quarter.

Housing investment, a bright spot in the economy helped by the central bank's aggressive monetary easing, rose 0.2 per cent, the slowest expansion in four quarters.


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