GDP marks first contraction in 9 quarters

GDP marks first contraction in 9 quarters

People walk past an electronic board showing exchange rate between Japanese Yen and U.S. Dollar outside a brokerage at a business district in Tokyo, Japan, March 23, 2018. Economists has forecast annualized contraction of around 0.2%.

The limp first-quarter performance was spread across different areas of the economy, according to Marcel Thieliant, senior Japan economist at research firm Capital Economics.

The GDP deflator fell 0.2% on year, defying forecasts for a gain of 0.3% following the flat reading in the previous three months.

Exports rose 0.6 percent.

Japanese government officials expect the decline to be temporary.

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"Globally, IT-related items have been in an adjustment phase, which weighed down Japan's exports and factory output", said Yoshimasa Maruyama, chief market economist at SMBC Nikko Securities.

Japan's economy contracted by 0.2 percent quarter on quarter in the January-March period, the Cabinet Office reported Wednesday.

That snaps a run of eight quarters of consecutive growth, the longest Japan has achieved since the boom days of the late 1980s. The median estimate was for consumer spending to remain unchanged.

A sales tax hike to 5 percent from 3 percent in 2014 caused a large fall in consumer spending and tipped the economy into recession.

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