Japan economy contracts 3.6% in 3Q on weaker spending, trade

Japan’s economy contracted at a 3.6% annual rate in July-September, according to a revised estimate released Wednesday.

The downgraded growth estimate for the last quarter, down from an earlier report of a 3.0% contraction, reflected weaker consumer spending and trade, the government said.

In quarterly terms, the measure used for most economies, the economy contracted 0.9%, compared to the earlier estimate of a 0.8% contraction.

The world’s third-largest economy has been mired in recession and struggling to recover from the impact of waves of coronavirus infections.

The latest outbreak, in the late summer, has receded for now with a sharp drop in cases. But it hit during the usually busy summer travel season, with calls for restricted business activity and travel hurting restaurants, hotels and other service sector industries.

The data showed a lower level of private inventories than earlier reported, weaker government spending and business investment and weaker consumer spending. It also showed wages contracted by 0.4%, instead of growing by 0.1% as earlier reported.

Japan’s Cabinet has approved a record 56 trillion yen, or $490 billion stimulus package, including cash handouts and aid to ailing businesses, to help the economy out of the doldrums worsened by the coronavirus pandemic. Parliamentary approval of the plan is expected this month.

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