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Japan's economy shrinks 7% in last quarter, risks recession

Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 has dropped over the news of the virus outbreak, which began in central China late last year and has now spread to about 100 nations

twitter-logo Associated Press        Last Updated: March 9, 2020  | 11:16 IST
Japan's economy shrinks 7% in last quarter, risks recession
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Japan's economy contracted at a dismal 7.1 per cent annual rate during the October-December period, worse than the initial estimate, raising fears the world's third largest economy could be headed to a recession.

The contraction was the first for Japan in more than a year and followed an Oct 1 increase in the sales tax, which hit retail spending. The Cabinet Office data, released Monday, was a revision from last month's estimate of a 6.3 per cent decline.

The data do not reflect the steep downturn in tourism and other business activity related to the virus outbreak that has spread from China to much of the world. On a quarterly basis, the economy shrank 1.8 per cent in October-December from the previous quarter. The earlier estimate was of a 1.6 per cent contraction.

Domestic demand, including investments and consumption fell 2.4 per cent. Government spending was flat. A recession is technically defined as two consecutive quarters of contraction. Yoshimasa Maruyama, analyst with SMBC Nikko Securities, called the situation serious." The recession could be more than just technical and the economy could really decline, he said.

Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 has dropped over the news of the virus outbreak, which began in central China late last year and has now spread to about 100 nations, sickening people from Italy to Washington state in the US. The Nikkei plunged again in Monday trading, losing 6.2 per cent in morning trading to 19,473.07.

Japan has been trying to wrest itself out of the economic doldrums by encouraging lending and public works projects. The government has announced various stimulus measures to counter the slowdown.

Also read: Top 10 firms combined lose Rs 95,432 cr, RIL, HDFC top contributors

Also read: Coronavirus outbreak: Cases in UK reach 273

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