Japan's economy grows faster than expected on new imperial era holidays
Japan Today -- Aug 10
Japan's economy grew at a faster-than-expected clip in the second quarter, official data showed on Friday, helped by celebrations to usher in a new imperial era.

Gross domestic product (GDP) in the world's third-biggest economy grew 0.4 percent from the previous quarter, the Cabinet Office said, beating analysts' median forecast of 0.1 percent.

The third straight period of expansion will also bolster Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's determination to push through a controversial sales tax hike in October despite warnings it could weigh on growth.

Shoppers are rushing to make purchases before the rate rises from eight percent to 10 percent on October 1 and this boost for consumption also helped push GDP higher, economists said.

An unprecedented 10-day holiday for the enthronement of Emperor Naruhito, which kicked off a new imperial era in Japan, also pepped up the figures, according to analysts.

However, trade frictions between the U.S. and China weighed on exports and corporate spending in some sectors such as machinery, said Yuichiro Nagai, senior economist at Mizuho Securities.

"But investments in software, research and development, and construction were good," he told AFP.

Nagai said a rush by consumers to buy before the sales tax hike will likely become even more pronounced in the July-September quarter, helping Japan log another quarter of growth.

And while the economy would likely contract in October-December due to the higher tax, it should rebound next year and avoid slipping into a recession, Nagai said.

News source: Japan Today
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