Tokyo, Nov 16 (efe-epa).- Japan’s gross domestic product (GDP) grew 5 percent in the July-September third-quarter period compared to the second quarter of this year, the government reported in preliminary data released Monday.
This growth contrasts with the 8.2 percent drop in economic activity in the second quarter – recorded between April and June – in comparison with the first quarter, according to revised official figures. The drop was linked to the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
However, if Japan’s GDP for the third quarter of the year is compared to the same period of 2019, activity decreased by 5.8 percent, while in the second quarter, the year-on-year decline was 10.2 percent.
With the 5 percent increase in GDP in the third quarter of this year compared to the second quarter, Japan was able to end that period with the first expansion in four quarters – since the 0.4 percent growth recorded in the second quarter of 2019.
Since the last quarter of 2019, Japan has been seeing drops in GDP each quarter compared to the preceding, initially due to the retraction caused by the increase of two percentage points in VAT from October 2019.
A year ago, Japan’s GDP ended flat in the third quarter compared to the second (0 percent). In the fourth, due to VAT increase, it fell by 1.8 percent, and between January and March 2020, economic activity fell by 0.6 percent, as COVID-19 spread.
Japan reported its first case of coronavirus on Jan. 16, but the pandemic took weeks to spread and the first death was reported on Feb. 13, with large-scale public events canceled as of Feb. 21.
At the end of March, Japan launched an extensive travel ban, which has generated a sharp contraction in the tourism sector, and on Apr. 7 the government declared a national state of emergency due to the coronavirus spread, which lasted until May 25.
This exceptional measure, which implied the closure of malls, restrictions on the operating hours of bars and restaurants and recommendations against nonessential travel, caused the Japanese economy to suffer. EFE-EPA