Japan's GDP ends best growth run in decades as spending, trade fade

GDP marks first contraction in 9 quarters

GDP marks first contraction in 9 quarters

Japan's longest straight period of expansion in almost three decades ended in the first quarter of this year as the economy shrank at an annualized rate of 0.6 percent.

The contraction, which was driven by declines in investment and consumption and weaker export growth, comes as Japan Inc frets over the possible effects of U.S.

Japan's Economy Minister Toshimitsu Motegi said on Wednesday there was no change to the government's view that the economy was recovering moderately. "Consumers will keep purse strings tight unless the pace of wage increases shows a clear acceleration", said SMBC Nikko Securities Chief Market Economist Yoshimasa Maruyama.

GDP is expected to be flat on quarter and slip 0.1% on year after adding 0.4% on quarter and 1.6% on year in the three months prior.

Economists don't expect the period of contraction to last long.

The Japanese economy contracted for the first time in two years in the first quarter of 2018.

It was the first decline in nine quarters, snapping the longest stretch of continued expansion since the late 1980s.

On a quarterly basis, Japan's gross domestic product dipped 0.2 percent, the Cabinet Office reported. Heavy snows in February also restricted household spending by keeping consumers inside and driving up vegetable prices.

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