TOKYO, May 17 (Reuters) – Japan’s economy grew an annualised 1.6% in January-March from the previous quarter, as firm private consumption and an unexpected rise in capital expenditure offset shrinking external demand, government data showed on Wednesday.
The first-quarter gross domestic product figures was much larger than economists’ median estimate for a 0.7% annualised growth. The expansion translated into a quarterly increase of 0.4%, the data showed.
Domestic private consumption, which makes up more than half the economy, grew 0.6% quarter-on-quarter in January-March, and capital expenditure, a key engine of growth, gained 0.9%, against economists’ estimate for a decrease.
External demand, or net exports, shaved off 0.3 percentage point off the first-quarter gain, which was more than offset by positive domestic-demand contribution of 0.7 percentage point.
Reporting by Tetsushi Kajimoto and Kantaro Komiya
Editing by Chang-Ran Kim