Published: Sun, August 12, 2018
Money | By Ralph Mccoy

Japan Q2 GDP expands annualised 1.9 pct

Japan Q2 GDP expands annualised 1.9 pct

But the country is likely to struggle to grow strongly in the coming quarters.

"Global trade conflict remains a risk factor... focus is how much the USA demands Japan over trade issues".

The world's third largest economy grew at a 1.9 percent annual pace after contracting by 0.6 percent in January-March, the Cabinet Office said. That would follow a 0.6 percent annualised contraction in the previous quarter, which put an end to the best run of growth since the 1980s bubble economy.

According to yesterday's data, private consumption - which accounts for some 60 per cent of Japan's gross domestic product - rose 0.7 per cent, recovering from a 0.2 per cent decline in the first quarter.

Business investment jumped 1.3 percent following a 0.5 percent gain in the previous quarter, thanks partly to booming construction ahead of the Tokyo Olympics in 2020.

Mizuho Research Institute senior economist Kentaro Arita estimated that potential U.S. tariffs could cost Japan's auto industry as much as US$10 billion (S$13.7 billion).

"The economy is running into capacity constraints". We are quite certain there will be some sort of tariffs on Japanese cars.

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External demand - or exports minus imports - was expected to add 0.1 percentage point to growth, the poll found, the same rate of contribution seen in the first quarter.

US President Donald Trump has unsettled rivals and allies alike with harsh trade rhetoric and a raft of tariffs that have affected sectors ranging from agriculture to automobiles. "The signs point to a slower pace of overall growth".

Trade talks between Japan and the United States in Washington on Thursday reportedly made little headway but were due to resume Friday.

"Concerns over the potential auto tariffs can't be ignored", Japan Research Institute economist Yusuke Shimoda said.

Trump is trying to re-negotiate the USA trade relationship with other countries to curb practices that he says are unfair to American companies and workers.

Japan has repeatedly said it prefers multilateral trade negotiations, which puts it at loggerheads with the United States.

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