Business & Economy

Japan revises Q1 GDP decline as economy shrank less than earlier estimates

Tokyo, June 8 (EFE).- The Japanese government on Tuesday revised the contraction of the gross domestic product (GDP) for the first quarter of 2021 to 1 percent, 0.3 percent less than the preliminary data published in May.

The world’s third-largest economy shrank 1.6 percent compared to the same quarter of 2020.

This is 0.3 percent less than the earlier estimate, according to the revised data.

The contraction snaps the recovery trend that the Japanese GDP had experienced in the second half of 2020 when it posted two quarter-on-quarter increases of 5.3 percent and 2.8 percent and recovered part of the ground lost due to the initial impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

Japan ended 2020 with a 4.8 percent decline in its GDP due to the Covid-19 impact.

One of the factors that led to the downward revision of the quarterly contraction was the reduction in the fall in corporate capital investment to 0.7 percent from the one percent estimated in the preliminary figures.

The government also lowered the contraction in public investment to 0.5 percent from the 1.1 percent originally estimated, along with that in public spending, to 1.1 percent, 0.7 percent less than the preliminary figure.

Household consumption, the main pillar of the Japanese GDP, was more affected than initially estimated due to the state of emergency declared in the most populated regions of the country between early January and late March.

It contracted by 1.5 percent between those months, 0.1 percent more than initially estimated.

The Cabinet Office revised the recovery of exports in the first quarter of the year to 2.2 percent while imports increased by 3.9 percent, both 0.1 percent less than the figures in the preliminary data.

The Japanese government kept unchanged the GDP’s contraction of 4.6 percent during the 2020 fiscal year, which ended on Mar. 31.

For the current fiscal year, which will end in April 2022, the Bank of Japan forecasts a growth of 4 percent, according to its latest estimates.

However, the central bank also warned of uncertainty surrounding the country’s economy due to the virus.

Meanwhile, Japan registered a current account surplus of 1.32 trillion yen ($12.09 billion) in April, its 82nd consecutive month with a positive balance, the government said Tuesday.

The figure is 6.4 times higher than that posted in the same month of 2020, but 50 percent lower than that recorded in March, according to data published by the finance ministry.

Japan’s trade balance recorded a surplus of 289.5 billion yen compared to the deficit of 926.9 billion yen it had the previous year.

However, April’s surplus was over three times less than that recorded in March.

Exports increased 38 percent year-on-year to 6.82 trillion yen while imports rose 11.3 percent to 6.53 trillion yen.

The balance of services recorded a deficit of 954.8 billion yen, a year-on-year increase of 21.2 percent and more than twenty times higher than the deficit recorded in the previous month.

The income account registered a surplus of 2.17 trillion yen, a year-on-year increase of 7.3 percent.

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