Japan Q4 GDP rises annualised 0.5pc on consumer spending

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Japan has now posted the longest continuous economic expansion since a 12-quarter stretch of growth between April-June 1986 and January-March 1989 around the height of Japan's notorious economic bubble.

Robust consumer spending drove Japan's economy to eight straight quarters of growth in October-December, its longest continuous expansion since the 1980s bubble economy, and evidence that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's campaign to restore growth after decades of stagnation is bearing fruit.

It was the first estimate for the quarter and these are more often than not revised in subsequent updates, as the September figure was.

Private consumption, which accounts for roughly 60% of GDP, was up an annualised 0.5%, (pushing domestic demand up 0.1% and saving the day so far as overall growth was concerned).

He noted that "capacity shortages", where short-handed or inadequately equipped factories can not keep up with demand, tend to slow growth.

On a quarter-on-quarter basis, GDP rose 0.1 per cent, slightly less than the median estimate for a 0.2 per cent increase.

Capital expenditures by the private sector also showed an expansion of 0.7%, the fifth consecutive quarter of growth, as production activities recovered and demand for machine tools increased. The lackluster performance reflects the difficulty of stimulating more investment and spending as Japan's population ages and declines.

This means the economy expanded for an 8th straight quarter, which is the longest growth period in almost 3 decades.

Japan's central bank has been infusing trillions of yen (hundreds of billions of dollars) of cash into the economy through recession-fighting asset purchases, mostly of government bonds, to counter deflation.

Capital investment was up 0.7 percent. That would give Kuroda more time to work toward a still distant inflation target of 2 percent at a time when worries over USA inflation are rising, rattling financial markets.

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