Tokyo, May 1 (Jiji Press)–Japan’s real gross domestic product is believed to have contracted an annualized 5.2 pct in January-March, as economic activity slumped due to the coronavirus pandemic, think tanks say.
That would mark a second straight quarterly decline as the country’s GDP slid 7.1 pct in October-December 2019, battered by the October consumption tax hike to 10 pct from 8 pct, according to the average estimate among the 10 private-sector think tanks.
The economy was expected to recover from the tax hike shock. But private consumption, which accounts for nearly 60 pct of the GDP, appears to have been dampened by voluntary restrictions on going out and event cancellations in efforts to end the COVID-19 crisis.
All 10 think tanks project a GDP fall. The Cabinet Office is set to announce preliminary GDP data for January-March on May 18.
Exports are believed to have dropped, reflecting the weakness of overseas economies and a decrease in consumption by foreign visitors to Japan, included in the category of service exports.
But imports are likely to have fallen amid stagnant domestic economic activity. As a result, the contribution of net exports to the total GDP is believed to have been limited.
Negative effects from the coronavirus crisis are feared spreading to the manufacturing sector in April-June.
SMBC Nikko Securities Inc. projects an annualized 22.4 pct real GDP drop, while NLI Research Institute forecasts a fall of over 30 pct.