Japan’s economy grows faster than expected

Tokyo workers

Japan’s economy grew faster than expected in the first three months of the year, according to official data.

The economy grew 0.5% in the quarter, while the annualised rate of growth was 2.2% – the fastest rate for a year.

The figures means Japan has now recorded its longest period of expansion in more than a decade.

The economy’s prospects have been boosted by strong exports, a pick-up in consumption and investment for the Tokyo Olympics in 2020.

Exporters have been helped by the recent falls in the yen against the US dollar, which has made their products more competitive and has boosted the value of profits earned overseas.

Abenomics impact

The data could provide a lift to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe as his government tries to encourage Japanese consumers and companies to spend more.

Mr Abe’s grand plan to kick start the world’s third largest economy, known as “Abenomics”, was aimed at tackling nearly two decades of stagnant growth and falling consumer prices.

David Kuo, chief executive of the Motley Fool Singapore, said the numbers showed that “Abenomics could be working.”

He Kuo added: “Consumers appear to be regaining their confidence which should provide sustainable growth if it continues.”

But he warned that Mr Abe’s work could be undone if the political controversy surrounding President Trump led to further falls in the US dollar.

The row over the firing of FBI director James Comey has led to growing scepticism about Mr Trump’s ability to deliver tax and regulatory reform.

This has hit both US shares and the dollar. The US dollar is currently trading near six-month lows against other major currencies.

[Source:- bbc]