Japan economy grows at amazing rate in Q1

Published : 08 Jun 2023 10:05 PM

Japan's economy expanded 0.7 percent in the January-March quarter, up from an initial estimate of 0.4 percent, government data showed Thursday.

The latest figure -- which also beat market expectations of 0.5 percent growth -- reflects strong corporate investments, data released by the Cabinet Office showed.

The first-quarter number is much stronger than the 0.1 percent seen in the final quarter of 2022.

"Exports declined sharply, reflecting slowing in economies overseas while domestic demand such as individual consumption and corporate investment grew, leading to economic growth as a whole," Saisuke Sakai, chief economist of Mizuho Research & Technologies, said in a note ahead of the data's release.

"Given that the economy saw contraction in the July-September quarter... the Japanese economy's recovery is still not enough" to match pre-Covid pandemic levels in 2019, he said.

Looking ahead, Japan's economy will likely keep growing, led by domestic demand thanks partly to inbound tourism," he added.

The latest data comes after a government survey released earlier this week showed that real-term wages for workers in Japan declined three percent in April from a year earlier.

A separate government report has also found household spending in April dipped 4.4 percent in real terms from the previous year.

Sakai said "real-term wages are expected to rise in the latter half of the current fiscal year" to March 2024.