Japan’s economy rebounds in fourth quarter of 2018


TOKYO, Feb 14, 2019 (BSS/AFP) – Japan’s economy expanded in the final
quarter of 2018 as the negative impact from a series of natural disasters
over the summer receded, government data showed Thursday.

The world’s third largest economy benefitted from a rise in domestic
demand, including in corporate investment and household spending.

Gross domestic product for the last quarter of 2018 expanded 0.3 percent
from the previous quarter, Cabinet Office data showed, after a 0.7 percent
contraction in the quarter before.

The growth was slightly below the 0.4 percent that had been forecast by

The largest driver of the rise — an annualised rate of 1.4 percent — was
corporate investment, which rose 2.4 percent after a sharp contraction in the
previous quarter.

But while domestic demand rose, weak exports offset some of positive
factors, the Cabinet Office said.

“Consumption and investment recovered in a straightforward reaction after
drops in the July-September quarter hit by natural disasters,” Yoshiki
Shinke, chief economist at Dai-ichi Life Research Institute, told AFP.
“But exports, while positive, were weak and not enough to recover to the
level before the previous quarter,” he said.

The continued weakness in exports was a result in part of a slowdown in
overseas economies, especially China and Southeast Asia, he said.

“We should keep watching overseas economies as the negative impact from
the (US-China) trade war may become evident,” he said.

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 0.7 percent year-on-year, after a
1.9 growth in 2017, the Cabinet Office said.