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Japan's GDP down 6.3 pct, biggest fall since '14

TOKYO, Feb 17 (KUNA) -- Japan's economy shrank at an annualized pace of 6.3 percent in the final quarter of 2019, marking the biggest fall since mid 2014 due to a sales tax hike and a powerful typhoon, government said Monday.
The first contraction in five quarters followed a revised 1.8 percent expansion in the July-September quarter, according to preliminary data released by the Cabinet Office.
The sharp drop in GDP was the largest since a 7.4-percent slump in the April-June period of 2014, when the government raised sales tax from five percent to eight percent.
On a quarterly basis, the world's third-biggest economy's GDP fell 1.6 percent in the October-December period from the three months that ended on September 30.
Personal consumption, which accounts for about 60 percent of Japan's GDP, declined 0.6 percent following the consumption tax hike from eight percent to 10 percent last October.
Corporate capital spending, another major contributor to growth, also slid 3.7 percent amid the prolonged trade dispute between the US and China. In regard to foreign demand, exports went down 0.1 percent due to a slowdown in the global economy triggered by the US-China trade friction, it noted.
"We should pay attention to the impact of the coronavirus on Japan's economy through inbound tourism and supply chain disruption, as well as a slowdown in global growth," Economy and Fiscal Policy Minister Yasutoshi Nishimura told a press conference after the Cabinet released GDP data despite contraction.
"The government will take all steps necessary flexibly with an eye on the impact of the coronavirus outbreak on the economy and tourism," Nishimura said.
In 2019, GDP grew 0.7 percent, up for the eighth year in a row. GDP is the total value of goods and services produced domestically. (end) mk.ag