Japan’s economy grew 0.3 percent in real terms in the April-June period from the previous quarter, the government said Friday, marking a surprise downward revision from the initially reported expansion of 0.4 percent.
The pace of growth, measured in terms of gross domestic product, translates into an annualized 1.3 percent, downgraded from the earlier estimated 1.7 percent, the Cabinet Office said.
The data suggest that Japanese economic growth has begun to slow, putting a damper on the government’s upbeat scenario that the world’s second-largest economy will continue to remain on a recovery track.
Many private-sector economists had forecast an upward revision due to recently released strong capital spending figures.
Although the 0.3 percent growth marks a fifth straight quarterly expansion since the April-June period of 2003, the margin of growth was far smaller than the last two quarters. GDP logged real growth of 1.9 percent in the October-December period and a 1.6 percent rise in the January-March period.
“A rise in inventories such as automobiles, cement and industrial machinery was mainly attributable to the downward revision,” a Cabinet Office official said.
GDP is the total value of goods and services produced domestically. Real GDP data are adjusted for price and seasonal variations.
On a nominal basis, GDP for the April-June quarter shrank 0.5 percent, or an annualized 2.1 percent, revised downward from a 0.3 percent contraction, or an annualized 1.3 percent shrinkage.
Capital investment was revised upward to a real 1.2 percent growth from flat in the initial report, but a drop in inventories offset the gains in capital investment, the official said.
The GDP deflator, a major barometer of price changes, declined 2.7 percent in the April-June period from a year earlier, down 0.1 point from the initial report.
Personal spending, which accounts for about 50 percent of Japan’s GDP, rose a real 0.6 percent, unchanged from the preliminary report.
Housing investment climbed a real 0.4 percent, up 0.1 point from the initial report.
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