Japan’s economy rebounds from post-earthquake slump

Japan’s economy rebounds from post-earthquake slump

TOKYO - Agence France-Presse

Japan’s economy rebounded in the third quarter as efforts to restore supply chains and recover lost output in the wake of the March disasters helped it post its first expansion in four quarters.

Automakers and other key industries boosted output to meet pent-up demand after the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear crisis, but analysts warned that a strong yen and a global slowdown will weigh on the recovery.

The world’s third-biggest economy grew by an annualized 6 percent in the July-September quarter, preliminary data showed yesterday, the fastest pace since January-March 2010.

On a quarterly basis, gross domestic product (GDP) grew 1.5 percent in July-September, compared to a 0.3 percent on-quarter contraction in April-June.

“The positive growth came on the back of rapid restoration of (nationwide) supply chains after the disasters,” said Motohisa Furukawa, the country’s economic and fiscal policy minister.

Improving exports were the biggest contributor to growth in the third quarter, followed by private consumption. On a quarterly basis, exports were 6.2 percent higher, while private consumption gained 1 percent.

Japan “achieved temporary high growth in the process of normalizing production, exports and consumption that had been lost after the Great East Japan Earthquake,” said Naoki Murakami, chief economist at Monex Securities. However, leading indicators show the recovery is slowing, he added.

Data last week showed Japan’s core private-sector machinery orders dropped 8.2 percent in September on a monthly basis, as uncertainty about the global economy causes firms to rein in spending.

“The economy is expected to slow ... because of the yen’s strength that is weighing down corporate earnings as well as a delay in reconstruction demand,” said Murakami.