December 10, 2012 / 7:01 AM / 7 years ago

UPDATE 2-Japan revised GDP signals economy in recession

* Japan Q3 GDP -0.9 pct qtr/qtr vs prelim -0.9 pct
    * Revised capex -3.0 pct vs prelim -3.2 pct
    * Data keeps BOJ under pressure to ease more
    * Consumer confidence worsens in November, govt cuts view

    By Kaori Kaneko
    TOKYO, Dec 10 (Reuters) - Japan's economy contracted for a
second straight quarter in July-September, revised government
data showed on Monday, indicating that weak global demand nudged
the export-reliant economy into a mild recession.
    Analysts expect another quarter of contraction in the final
three months of this year due to sluggish exports to China,
keeping the Bank of Japan under pressure to loosen monetary
policy as early as this month.
    "There have been some positive indicators out in October but
there is still a good chance that Japan's economy will suffer
another contraction in the October-December quarter," said
Takeshi Minami, chief economist at Norinchukin Research
Institute in Tokyo.
    "The Bank of Japan may ease policy this month, as suggested
in remarks by Deputy Governor Kiyohiko Nishimura last week. The
bias is for further easing, so even if the central bank stands
pat this month it will likely act in January."
    Japan's gross domestic product (GDP) shrank 0.9 percent in
July-September from the previous quarter, revised government
figures showed, unchanged from preliminary data reported last
month. That compared with economists' median forecast for a 0.8
percent contraction.
    The figure translates into an annualised contraction of 3.5
percent in real, price-adjusted terms, also unchanged from the
preliminary data issued last month.
    The government revised GDP figures for April-June to show a
small contraction of 0.03 percent, indicating that the economy
contracted for two straight quarters and meeting the technical
definition of a recession. The prior figure had shown growth of
0.1 percent.
    Capital expenditure fell a revised 3.0 percent in the third
quarter, compared with a 2.8 percent decline expected by
economists and a preliminary reading of a 3.2 percent decline.
    Separate data showed Japan's current account surplus fell
29.4 percent in October from a year earlier, compared with the
median estimate for a 59.2 percent annual decline, largely due
to shrinking exports and increasing costs of fuel oil imports.
    The nation's consumer confidence and service sector business
sentiment showed mixed results in November.
    The survey's sentiment index for general households, which
includes views on incomes and jobs, fell for the third month in
a row, prompting the government to cut its assessment on
consumer confidence, saying there were signs of weakness. 
    Meanwhile, Japan's service sector sentiment index, a survey
of workers such as taxi drivers, hotel workers and restaurant
staff, slightly improved for the first time in four but the
government kept its view on the index that the economy remained
    Japan's main opposition Liberal Democratic Party, a champion
of big spending on public works, is on course to win a solid
majority in a lower house election on Dec. 16, according to
media polls, and return to power for the first time since 2009.
    A weak economic outlook and threats from politicians to
limit the BOJ's independence are likely to keep up pressure on
the central bank to ease monetary policy further.
    BOJ Deputy Governor Kiyohiko Nishimura said last week the
central bank will debate whether further stimulus is needed to
support the economy, offering the strongest signal to date that
it may loosen policy again at its next rate review on Dec. 19-20
in the face of growing political pressure.
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