Capital spending by companies grew 10.7 percent from a year earlier in the April-June quarter for the fifth straight quarterly increase, the Finance Ministry reported Monday.
The rate of increase is the highest since the ministry adopted the current calculation method in the July-September period of 2001, fueling hope that Japan’s economic growth data for the April-June quarter will be revised upward.
Manufacturers spent 5.6 percent more on plants and equipment, an increase for the fifth straight quarter, while nonmanufacturers spent 13.0 percent more, up for the third consecutive quarter, the ministry’s quarterly survey showed.
Makers of electrical machinery and information and telecom devices led the growth with a gain of 32.0 percent, while capital spending by the service industry, including leasing, rose 22.3 percent. But spending by automakers fell 13.7 percent.
Private-sector economists said the upbeat findings are likely to push up revised data for Japan’s gross domestic product for the April-June quarter, which will be released Friday.
“Although capital spending by manufacturers showed a sign of slowing, spending by nonmanufacturers posted a stronger than expected increase for the reporting quarter,” said Takahide Kiuchi, a senior economist at Nomura Securities Co.
“The firm capital spending data suggest that the perceptions of the weaker than expected GDP growth for the April-June period were too pessimistic,” he said.
The Cabinet Office said in a preliminary report Aug. 13 that the economy grew a real 0.4 percent in the April-June period from the previous quarter, or an annualized expansion of 1.7 percent.
The figures were below the average market projection of a 1.0 percent quarter-on-quarter rise and an annualized 4.3 percent growth. The downbeat results were seen as a sign of slowdown in the nation’s economic recovery, which has been led by strong exports and capital investment.
Kiuchi said he expects an upward revision in capital spending to lift the April-June real GDP by 0.2 percentage point from the previous quarter, or 0.7 percentage point in annualized terms.
The government will issue a revised estimate Friday.
The combined corporate pretax profits for the three-month period meanwhile expanded 34.3 percent from a year earlier for the eighth straight quarterly increase.
Manufacturers’ pretax profits climbed 37.8 percent, up for eight quarters in a row, while nonmanufacturers’ profits rose 31.8 percent, up for five quarters.
Combined sales increased 5.4 percent, up for the fifth consecutive quarter. Sales by manufacturers climbed 4.4 percent, up for the seventh straight quarter, while nonmanufacturers’ sales rose 5.8 percent, up for the fifth quarter in a row.
The Finance Ministry sent questionnaires to 26,271 companies selected at random from among those capitalized at 10 million yen or more, of which 20,596 responded. The survey excluded financial institutions.
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