Japan's fourth-quarter growth revised to 1.9 pct

Japan's economy grew faster than initially thought in the October-December quarter, due partly to strong corporate investment, official figures showed Friday.

The world's third-biggest economy grew 0.5 percent quarter-on-quarter, up from the preliminary figure of 0.3 percent, the cabinet office said.

The latest figure  an annualized 1.9 percent  is slightly better than market expectations, confirming that Japan has bounced back to growth as the negative impact from a series of natural disasters over the summer receded.

Japan's household spending in January edged up two percent, beating a market expectation of a 0.5 percent decline, a separate survey by the internal affairs ministry said.

Housing costs, vehicle and telecommunications-related fees and education costs were among the reasons for the rise in spending, the ministry said, ahead of the start of a new fiscal year in April.

The Friday data suggest a mild turnaround after eight consecutive quarters of growth ended in January-March last year, interrupting a winning streak not seen since the heady days of Japan's "miracle" boom of the 1980s.

VCG Photo

VCG Photo

However, the cabinet office on Thursday revised down its judgment on the economy as a leading business confidence index declined in January for the third straight month.

It assessed the latest index as "signaling a possible turning point" towards a downturn, the cabinet office said.

Analysts have also warned that US-led trade wars could be a major risk factor for an economy still struggling to win a long battle against deflation.

The growth came after a dip following a string of natural disasters last summer, including massive flooding in western regions due to torrential rain, a typhoon that inundated a major international airport, and an earthquake in the north that disrupted supply lines.

The temporary closure of the Kansai International Airport led to a fall in tourism and overseas shipments.

For the last year, Japan's economy grew 0.8 percent year-on-year, after a 1.9 percent growth in 2017, the Cabinet Office said.

Source(s): AFP