Japan’s Growth Revised Sharply Higher

Growth in the Japanese economy in the first quarter has been revised sharply higher, official government data shows.The world’s third largest economy expanded 1% in the first three months from the previous three, up from an initial estimate of 0.6%.

It also grew 3.9% on an annualised basis, compared to a preliminary reading of 2.4%, and much higher than forecasts of 2.7% growth.

A jump in business spending helped boost growth well above expectations.

In the initial estimate, business spending was up just 0.4% from the previous quarter. The revised reading was 2.7% higher, compared to forecasts of 2.3%.

The revised figures make growth in first quarter the best for Japan in two years.

The data is boosting hopes of a continuing recovery from the recession that the country fell into last year and is good news for the government and central bank which have both been trying to stimulate growth in the Asian giant.

Growth on track?

But, not all economists are convinced that Japan is on track for a better outlook.

Marcel Thieliant, economist at Capital Economics, expects growth in the second quarter to have slowed.

“Core consumer spending fell to the lowest level since last summer in April, and industrial output may well contract this quarter,” he said in a note. “We therefore expect a sharp slowdown in GDP (gross domestic product) growth in the second quarter.”

Other data on Monday also showed that Japan’s current account, a broad measure of trade, in April fell below expectations despite hitting a surplus for the 10th consecutive month.

The current account surplus was at 1.3 trillion yen ($10.5bn; £6.7bn), compared to a forecast of 1.7 trillion yen. In May, the surplus was at a seven-year high of 2.8 trillion yen.

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