Japan's economy unexpectedly shrinks as hot inflation, global slowdown take toll
Reuters · 15 Nov 2022 426 Views
  • Japan Q3 GDP down 0.3% q/q, annualised down 1.2%
  • High import costs, global recession risks heap pressure
  • Weak yen magnifies living costs, adds to Tokyo's challenge
  • Analysts say risks to outlook have increased

TOKYO, Nov 15 (Reuters) - Japan's economy unexpectedly shrank for the first time in a year in the third quarter, stoking further uncertainty about the outlook as global recession risks, a weak yen and higher import costs took a toll on household consumption and businesses.

The world's third-biggest economy has struggled to motor on despite the recent lifting of COVID curbs, and has faced intensifying pressure from red-hot global inflation, sweeping interest rate increases worldwide and the Ukraine war.

Gross domestic product fell an annualised 1.2% in July-September, official data showed, compared with economists' median estimate for a 1.1% expansion and a revised 4.6% rise in the second quarter.

It translated into a quarterly decline of 0.3%, versus a forecast of 0.3% growth.

Reuters Graphics

Japan has also been dealing with the challenge of the yen's slide to 32-year lows against the dollar, which has magnified cost-of-living strains by further lifting the price of everything from fuel to food items.

"The contraction was a surprise," said Takeshi Minami, chief economist at Norinchukin Research Institute.

The lifting of COVID restrictions offered some relief, Minami said, but "the outlook was clouded by uncertainty" over fresh virus cases.

"While the rise of inbound tourists is a bright spot for October-December and beyond, we see downside risks from the rising price of goods and the fear of another outbreak," he said."

Highlighting concern about a resurgence of the pandemic, Japan will face new daily COVID-19 infections topping 100,000 on Tuesday for first time in two months, Fuji Television reported.

Cases have been on the rise in recent weeks in what some authorities have called the eighth wave in the course of the pandemic.

In a sign of asset outflows driven by the weak yen, Japan logged trading losses for a sixth straight quarter in the July-September period, amounting to real losses worth a record 19.7 trillion yen, the GDP data showed.

(Source : Reuters) , all rights reserved by original source.