The Japanese economy grew 0.6 percent in the April-June quarter from the preceding quarter, or at an annualized pace of 2.6 percent, in real terms, the Cabinet Office said in a preliminary report.
It was the third consecutive quarterly expansion, but the pace of growth in the April-June period missed analysts’ expectations and was slower than that in the January-March period, when the economy expanded 0.9 percent on a quarter-on-quarter basis, or at an annualized pace of 3.8 percent.
Growth in the Japanese economy, as measured by gross domestic product (GDP), was driven by firm consumer spending and increased exports.
Japan’s exports rose for the second straight quarter in the April-June period on a quarter-on-quarter basis, surging 3.0 percent, led by brisk auto shipments to the United States.
Japan is now the world’s third-largest economy after the U.S. and China and is heavily dependent on exports for growth.
Consumer spending, which accounts for about 60 percent of Japan’s GDP, rose for the third successive quarter in the April-June period on a quarter-on-quarter basis, increasing 0.8 percent.
Corporate capital investment declined for the sixth quarter in a row in the April-June period on a quarter-on-quarter basis, although the pace of decline slowed to only 0.1 percent. Public investment has grown for six quarters in succession, jumping 1.8 percent in the second quarter from the preceding quarter.
In nominal terms, or before adjustment for price change, the Japanese economy grew 0.7 percent in the April-June period on a quarter-on-quarter basis, or at an annualized pace of 2.9 percent, in a sign of easing deflationary pressure.
Commenting on the GDP figures, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told reporters that the economy is “recovering steadily.” But he did not say what impact the GDP numbers will have on the government’s final decision this autumn on whether to raise the sales tax in April next year as planned.