Japan economy returns to black after first dip in two years
Japan economy returns to black after first dip in two years
Japan avoids a recession, but it's not in the clear yet
12 August, 2018, 09:31
Japan's rate of growth on an annualized basis beats analysts' expectations of an annualized pace of 1.4 percent following a revised 0.9 percent world's third-largest economy contraction in the first quarter.
But analysts warned that US-led trade wars could be a major risk factor for an economy still struggling to win a long battle against deflation.
Japan's gross domestic product expanded a seasonally adjusted 0.5 percent on quarter in the second quarter of 2018, the Cabinet Office said in Friday's preliminary reading.
The growth figure - annualised at 1.9 per cent - was better than analysts had expected, beating a market consensus of 0.3 per cent growth compiled by Bloomberg News.
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Mizuho Research Institute senior economist Kentaro Arita said that the USA tariffs could cost Japan's auto industry as much as US$10 billion. We are quite certain there will be some sort of tariffs on Japanese cars. This helps push up wages but has also caused capacity constraints because some companies are shortening operating hours due to a lack of workers.
External demand - or exports minus imports - was expected to add 0.1 percentage point to growth, the poll found, the same rate of contribution seen in the first quarter.
Capital expenditure rose 1.3 per cent, exceeding market forecasts for a 0.6 percent increase and marking the biggest gain since October-December 2016. "The signs point to a slower pace of overall growth".
U.S. President Donald Trump's administration may ask Japan to take specific steps to lower its trade surplus with the United States as Trump threatens China with higher tariffs, which could spark a global trade war.
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The data publically revealed as Japan's Minister for Economic Revitalisation Toshimitsu Motegi discussed trade between increasing trade tensions with the US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer in Washington on Thursday.
"Concerns over the potential auto tariffs can't be ignored", said Japan Research Institute economist Yusuke Shimoda.
Japan has repeatedly said it prefers multilateral trade negotiations, which puts it at loggerheads with the United States.
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