Japan's economy seen expanding for fourth straight quarter, led by exports

Fri Feb 3, 2017 1:55am EST
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By Kaori Kaneko

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan's economy was seen growing for a fourth straight quarter in October-December thanks to stronger exports and a pickup in capital spending, a Reuters poll found on Friday.

Poll respondents saw the economy as likely continuing to recover even though uncertainty over the policies of U.S. President Donald Trump remains deep.

The economy was expected to expand at an annualized rate of 1.1 percent in the fourth quarter, according to the poll of 20 analysts, after posting growth of 1.3 percent in the third quarter.

Under those circumstances quarter-on-quarter growth would a 0.3 percent gain, unchanged from July-September.

"Data will likely confirm the economy is on a moderate recovery led by a pickup in overseas economies," said Hidenobu Tokuda, senior economist at Mizuho Research Institute.

"Japan's economic recovery is expected to continue, helped by global economic growth and yen weakness. But downside risks are also high because of uncertainty over protectionism in the U.S. and the political situation in Europe."

The poll found net exports added 0.3 percentage point to growth in October-December, the same as it contributed in the third quarter.

Capital spending was seen growing 0.9 percent in the last quarter, the poll found, rising for the first time in two quarters.   Continued...

Japan's national flag is seen in front of containers and cranes at an industrial port in Tokyo, Japan, January 25, 2017.  REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon