Japan's big growth streak just came to an end


"The global economy is performing well and a yen is trading beyond 110 yen against the dollar, so once exports start to grow again, the economy will return to a moderate growth path". However, there are concerns that trade friction with the USA could affect demand for exports.

Economists don't expect the period of contraction to last long. The bank is widely expected to keep its benchmark lending rate unchanged at 1.50%.

Wednesday's data marked the end to eight straight quarters of economic expansion, which was the longest sequence of growth since a 12-quarter run between April-June 1986 and January-March 1989 during the asset-inflated bubble economy.

External demand - or exports minus imports - added 0.1 percentage point to first-quarter GDP, as imports slowed more than exports.

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Economists polled by Reuters suggest Japan's economic growth has decreased by an annualised rate of 0.1% in the first quarter of 2018 after recording 1.6% growth in the final quarter of 2017.

The quarter was hit by bad weather that drove up fresh vegetable prices and dampened consumer spending.

Capital expenditure fell 0.1 percent, down for the first time in six quarters, suggesting corporate investment is not as strong as many economists had forecast. The author has made every effort to ensure accuracy of information provided; however, neither Kitco Metals Inc. nor the author can guarantee such accuracy. It is not a solicitation to make any exchange in commodities, securities or other financial instruments.