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Sunday, 16 March 2014

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Japanese growth slows as sales tax hike looms

TOKYO: Japan's economy grew at a slower pace than initially thought in the last quarter of 2013, revised data showed Monday, underscoring concerns about the pace of recovery under Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's policy blitz.

The fresh figures will turn the focus on to Bank of Japan policymakers as they start a two-day meeting, with speculation they could unveil further monetary easing measures to counter a possible slowdown from a sales tax rise next month. There are fears the rate hike - seen as crucial to bring down Japan's massive national debt - will hit consumer spending and dent the country's nascent recovery. The world's number-three economy expanded 0.2 percent in the quarter to December and 1.5 percent through 2013, the latest data showed.

That compared with earlier results showing gross domestic product grew 0.3 percent for October-December.

AFP

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