Japanese economy contracted for the first time in nine quarters

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Japan's economy likely slowed to a crawl, or possibly even contracted slightly at the start of this year, which would break the longest run of growth seen for decades and thwart Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's reflationary "Abenomics" polices.

"Globally, IT-related items have been in an adjustment phase, which weighed down Japan's exports and factory output", said SMBC Nikko Securities economist Yoshimasa Maruyama. Moderate inflation is good for an economy as it encourages consumers to spend.

Officials at the Cabinet Office attribute this to sluggish personal spending.

The central bank in Thailand will wrap up its monetary policy meeting and then announce its decision on interest rates.

Wednesday's data marked the end to eight straight quarters of economic expansion, which was the longest sequence of growth since a 12-quarter run between April-June 1986 and January-March 1989 during the asset-inflated bubble economy.

That works out to an annualized contraction of 0.6 percent.

In the first quarter exports expanded by 0.6% after 2.2% growth in the previous quarter. Heavy snows in February also restricted household spending by keeping consumers inside and driving up vegetable prices.

Domestic demand lopped 0.2 percentage points (ppts) of quarterly growth, driven lower by declines in housing investment and private business inventories. This article is strictly for informational purposes only. Kitco Metals Inc. and the author of this article do not accept culpability for losses and/ or damages arising from the use of this publication.