Japan to release several growth forecasts for fiscal 2020, 2021 due to COVID-19: sources

FILE PHOTO: A pedestrian wearing a protective face mask crosses a street, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in the business district in Tokyo, Japan, May 21, 2020.REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan plans to release several scenarios for economic growth in fiscal 2020 and 2021 due to uncertainty over how long the coronavirus pandemic will last, four government sources with knowledge of the matter told Reuters on Wednesday.

The government will give projections for gross domestic product growth (GDP) based on two assumptions that the pandemic would either end quickly or be prolonged, an unusual move underscoring the unpredictability policymakers face from the health crisis.

GDP is expected to shrink this year under either scenario but it would be smaller than a 5% contraction.

Under its most pessimistic scenario for the fiscal year through March 2022, the government expects to see nearly flat, but still positive GDP growth, one of the sources said.

Reporting by Yoshifumi Takemoto; Writing by Daniel Leussink; Editing by Kim Coghill