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Japan’s economy set to show seven straight growth quarters: Survey
November 11, 2017
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TOKYO: Japan’s economy was expected have grown for a seventh straight quarter in July-September, a period of unbroken expansion last seen between 1999 and 2001, a Reuters survey found on Friday.

Gross domestic product (GDP) is expected to have grown at an annualised rate of 1.3 per cent in the third quarter, the poll of 20 analysts showed.

That result would mark a seventh straight growth quarter, the longest period of expansion since an eight-quarter run from April-June 1999 to January-March 2001.

Quarter-on-quarter growth of 0.3 per cent is expected after a revised 0.6 per cent rise in the second quarter.

“Consumer spending was seen stalling in July-September but export growth likely supported solid economic expansion,” said Atsushi Takeda, chief economist at Itochu Economic Research Institute.

The poll found that private consumption, which accounts for roughly 60 per cent of GDP, probably slipped 0.4 per cent in the third quarter, the first fall in seven quarters.

External demand - or exports minus imports - was seen contributing 0.4 per centage point to growth, the poll found, after it subtracted 0.3 per centage point from GDP growth in April-June.

“We forecast the economy will continue to grow as both domestic and external demand pick up thanks to the global economic recovery and a softer yen,” said Hidenobu Tokuda, senior economist at Mizuho Research Institute.

“But there is downside risk from the Chinese economy and we also need to closely monitor geopolitical risk from the North Korean situation,” he said.

CAPITAL SPENDING

The Cabinet Office will announce the GDP data on Nov.15. Capital spending was seen rising 0.3 per cent in the third quarter, growing for a fourth straight quarter, following a 0.5 per cent rise the previous quarter. The Bank of Japan’s corporate goods price index (CGPI), which measures the prices companies charge each other for goods and services, was seen likely to have risen an annual 3.1 per cent in October, the poll found.

Such a result would mark a 10th straight rising month and the fastest annual rate of increase since October 2008, excluding the effect of a sales tax hike in 2014.

An improving job market driven by Japan’s economic recovery and booming stock prices helped increase households’ net worth this year, a survey showed, suggesting the benefits of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s reflationist “Abenomics” policies are broadening.

Households’ average financial assets rose 6.8 per cent from a year ago to 11.5 million yen ($101,447) in 2017 thanks to a 25 per cent rise in Japanese stock prices, an annual survey by the Central Council for Financial Services Information (CCFSI), a body administered by the Bank of Japan, showed on Friday.

But uncertainty over Japan’s social welfare provisions being maintained among a rapidly ageing population prevented households from turning to riskier investments, underscoring the challenge the central bank faces in nudging the country’s risk-shy population to invest rather than save cash in accounts.

The ratio of households who made ends meet as expected or felt better-off rose to 30.7 per cent from 29.2 per cent in the previous year, as more people joined the workforce amid a tightening job market, the survey showed.

But 54.1 per cent of households’ financial assets were held in savings and bank deposits, with only 8.9 per cent held in stocks, the survey showed.

When asked how they choose which financial assets to hold, 46.6 per cent said they would prioritise security such as a guarantee of principal, with only 18.7 per cent saying they focus on profitability.

Reuters

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