Japan’s economy shrank more than estimated in Q2

TOKYO (AFP) – Japan’s economy shrank slightly more than initially thought in the April-June quarter, official data released yesterday showed, deepening a contraction that was already the worst in the nation’s modern history.

The world’s third-largest economy shrank 7.9 per cent in the second quarter (Q2) of this year from the previous quarter, more than the initial 7.8 per cent in the preliminary data, the Cabinet Office said.

The downward revision comes with corporate investment weaker than in the preliminary data released last month, as the coronavirus deepens the country’s economic woes.

The latest headline figure was modestly better than market consensus of an eight per cent contraction, but it is the worst figure for Japan since comparable data became available in 1980, beyond the brutal impact of the 2008 global financial crisis.

Separate data released by the Internal Affairs Ministry yesterday showed Japan’s household spending in July dropped 7.6 per cent on-year, also underlining the impact of the coronavirus on the economy.

People use elevators at a shopping centre in Tokyo. PHOTO: AP

The 7.6 per cent drop was the 10th consecutive monthly decline and comes after a 1.2 per cent slide in June and 16.2 per cent dive in May.

The figure came in much worse than economist expectations of a 3.7 per cent decline,
Bloomberg said.

Japan’s economy was in recession even before the coronavirus hit due to damage from a powerful typhoon last year, and a sale tax hike in October.

The country has seen a smaller coronavirus outbreak compared to some of the worst-hit places, with about 71,800 infections and fewer than 1,400 deaths.