Data released by the government Friday raised concerns that the country’s economy may have entered a recessionary phase after a period of growth since December 2012.
The composite index of coincident economic indicators is “worsening,” the Cabinet Office said after reporting that the index was unchanged in December from the previous month.
The agency gave the view of “worsening” for the fifth consecutive month, the longest run since the 11 straight months between June 2008 and April 2009 during the global financial crisis.
“The index suggested that the economy is weak and may have entered a recessionary phase,” said Nobuyuki Nakatsuka, general manager of the Economic Research Division at Mitsubishi UFJ Research and Consulting Co.
But the government has maintained the view that the economy is “recovering at a moderate pace.”
The coincident index, which reflects current economic conditions, stood at 94.7 in December against 100 for the base year of 2015, according to a preliminary report released by the Cabinet Office.
Display manufacturing equipment and mining shovels saw increased production and shipments, but shipments of passenger cars and motorcycles fell.
The leading index, a yardstick for the economy’s performance months ahead, was up 0.8 point at 91.6.