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Japan's Q1 GDP down two pct

TOKYO, May 16 (KUNA) -- Japan's economy shrank two percent in the January-March period, chiefly due to slow private consumption, government data showed on Thursday.
The first contraction of the gross domestic product (GDP) in two quarters followed a revised 0.4 percent growth in the October-December quarter of 2023, according to preliminary data released by the Cabinet Office.
On a quarterly basis, the world's third-biggest economy's GDP expanded 0.5 percent in the three months ended March 31.
Economic Revitalization Minister Yoshitaka Shindo summed up the negative growth rate for the first quarter as the effects of various special factors that cannot be said to be due to economic trends.
"We should pay close attention to risks that exchange rate fluctuations will push up domestic prices through increases in import prices," Shindo said in a statement after the Cabinet released GDP data.
The minister also pointed out the need to monitor global economy downturn risks, such as the uncertain future of Chinese economy and resource prices due to unstable situations in the Middle East.
Personal consumption, which makes up more than half of Japan's GDP, fell 0.7 percent from the preceding three-month period amid price hikes and disruptions in auto manufacturing following Daihatsu Motor Co.'s fraudulent safety test scandal.
Capital spending, another key pillar of domestic demand, also declined 0.8 percent. In regard to foreign demand, exports slid 5.0 percent from the previous three months on weak shipments vehicles. (end) mk.aai