Japan Q2 GDP expands 0.5 percent after virus curbs lifted: official data

Agence France-Presse

Posted at Aug 15 2022 08:11 AM | Updated as of Aug 15 2022 08:49 AM

People stroll through market stalls at a shopping street in Sugamo district in Tokyo, Japan, 24 June 2022. According to data released by Japan's government, the national consumer price index (CPI) in May 2022 increased by 2.1 percent year-on-year, due to higher energy and food prices, a rise recorded for the ninth consecutive month. EPA-EFE/FRANCK ROBICHON
People stroll through market stalls at a shopping street in Sugamo district in Tokyo, Japan, 24 June 2022. According to data released by Japan's government, the national consumer price index (CPI) in May 2022 increased by 2.1 percent year-on-year, due to higher energy and food prices, a rise recorded for the ninth consecutive month. EPA-EFE/FRANCK ROBICHON

TOKYO - Japan's economy expanded in the three months to June, official data showed Monday, after the government lifted Covid-19 curbs on businesses.

The world's third-largest economy grew 0.5 percent quarter-on-quarter due to stronger consumption and capital investment.

While the country never imposed strict stay-at-home orders during the pandemic, the government in March lifted virus restrictions primarily targeting business opening hours.

Inbound tourism remains limited to group tours, however, and the economy is facing headwinds -- from the energy price crisis to fears of a global recession fuelled by biting inflation.

From April to June, private consumption grew 1.1 percent compared with the 0.3 percent registered in the January-March quarter, according to the data released by the Cabinet Office.

Capital spending expanded 1.4 percent, compared with a 0.3 percent contraction in the previous quarter.

"After the government lifted a quasi-state of emergency in late March, consumption of services showed a relatively strong rebound, while capital investment returned to growth after staying low for a while," BNP Paribas said in a note issued before the GDP data release.

Mitsubishi UFJ Research and Consulting also noted that "as the spread of the Omicron variant subsided, private consumption steadily increased, especially in-person services, and lifted the overall economy."

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