Japan data signals stronger recovery, aided by return of tourists

TOKYO, May 23 (straitstimes.com) - Japan’s slow post-pandemic recovery is showing signs of growing momentum, according to the latest gauges of strength in the service and factory sectors.

The au Jibun Bank’s purchasing managers’ index of activity in Japan’s service sector rose 0.9 point to a record 56.3 in May, helped by the post-Covid-19 return of foreign tourists. The reading in the manufacturing sector added 1.3 points to 50.8, rising above the 50 mark that separates a contraction from an expansion for the first time since October 2022.

The readings bode well for the world’s third-largest economy, whose recovery has lagged its global peers. The figures follow data last week showing that the economy expanded at a faster pace than expected in the first three months of the year.

The improving economic picture along with rising stocks will likely keep speculation simmering that Prime Minister Fumio Kishida may consider an early election. Polls showed a bump in the support rate for his Cabinet following the Group of Seven summit in Hiroshima over the weekend. ...continue reading

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