News ID: 265747
Published: 0351 GMT February 17, 2020

Japan's recession risks grow as economy skids in fourth-quarter, virus clouds outlook

Japan's recession risks grow as economy skids in fourth-quarter, virus clouds outlook
Newly manufactured cars of the automobile maker Subaru await export in a port in Yokohama, Japan. (TORU HANAI/REUTERS)

Japan’s economy shrank at the fastest pace in almost six years in the December quarter as last year’s sales tax hike hit consumer and business spending, highlighting a fragile outlook made worse by growing coronavirus risks.

Analysts say the widening fallout from the epidemic, which is damaging output and tourism, could undermine growth in the current quarter and push Japan into recession — defined as two straight quarters of decline, Reuters reported.

“There’s a pretty good chance the economy will suffer another contraction in January-March. The virus will mainly hit inbound tourism and exports, but could also weigh on domestic consumption quite a lot,” said Taro Saito, executive research fellow at NLI Research Institute.

“If this epidemic is not contained by the time of the Tokyo Olympic Games, the damage to the economy will be huge,” he said.

Japan’s gross domestic product (GDP) shrank an annualized 6.3 percent in the October-December period, government data showed on Monday, much faster than a median market forecast for a 3.7 percent drop and the first decline in five quarters.

 


 

   
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