Japan’s Q1 growth fastest in two years

June 10, 2014 - 12:42:23 am
Customers at a department store in Tokyo. Japan’s economic growth in the first three months of 2014 hit its fastest pace in more than two years, data showed yesterday.

TOKYO: Japan’s economic growth in the first three months of 2014 hit its fastest pace in more than two years, data showed yesterday, while analysts said a pick-up in consumer confidence indicated sentiment was improving despite the impact of a sales tax hike.

A surprise jump in capital spending powered the 1.6 percent expansion in the world’s 

number-three economy between January and March, slightly better than an initial estimate of 1.5 percent.

It also marked the best quarterly advance since a 2.6 percent rebound several months after the 2011 quake-tsunami disaster.

Cash registers across Japan rang up big sales ahead of the April 1 consumption tax rise, a move seen as crucial to paying down a massive public debt but which critics warn could throw a nascent recovery off track.

Millions of shoppers scooped up everything from cars and refrigerators to televisions and 

alcohol in a spending spree that resulted in a 6.7 percent annualised first-quarter expansion in the economy — a hypothetical figure that shows growth stretched over a full year.

However, consumers have since reined in their buying, with figures this month showing household spending down 13.3 percent in April while retail sales suffered a similar slump.AFP

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