06/09/2015, 00.00
JAPAN
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Japan, growing economy fails to convince analysts

Official data for the first quarter of the year revised sharply higher: the growth was 1%, compared with 0.6% forecast. It also grew 3.9% on an annualised basis, leading to hopes for a recovery. Experts doubtful: "Growth could fall again as early as the second quarter."

Tokyo (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Growth in the Japanese economy in the first quarter has been unexpectedly revised upwards. Official figures of the period, published by the government, amounted to 1% compared with the forecast 0.6%. The world’s third largest economy 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, which increased by 2.7%. Based on these data, government officials speak of the best economic performance for two years now. In addition, the data has given a boost to the hopes of those who believed the end of the recession in which the country has fallen in the past year is near.

However, economists do not share this optimism. Marcel Thieliant, an economist at Capital, believes that the second quarter data could show a slowdown: "Core consumer spending fell to the lowest level since last summer in April, and industrial output may well contract this quarter. We therefore expect a sharp slowdown in GDP (gross domestic product) growth in the second quarter".

The economic policies of the government, led by the "hawk" Shinzo Abe, seem unable to revive the national economy. Known as "abenomics", these provide for a relaxation of exchange rate policies, the allocation of fiscal stimulus and structural reforms to boost investment. Launched in 2012, they initially boosted the GDP: but the data fell continuously until the last quarter of 2014, when the Land of the Rising Sun slipped into "technical recession."

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