Analysts forecast slow economic growth

Analysts forecast slow economic growth

Private-sector analysts predict Japan's Gross Domestic Product growth for this year's first quarter will be flat or lower than the previous 3 months.

The Cabinet Office is scheduled to release the figure for the January to March period later this month.

The forecasts of 10 research companies range from minus 0.6 percent to plus 0.5 percent at an annualized rate in real terms.

All of them say personal consumption, which makes up more than half of Japan's GDP, was flat or decreased.

They say consumption slowed because heavy snow in January and February caused vegetable prices to rise and people to stay indoors.

The analysts also expect a decline in housing investment, citing a slowdown in construction starts for rental apartments.

They also predict growth in plant and equipment investment and exports will be sluggish.

However, the research companies say the factors causing the slow GDP growth due to the weather conditions were temporary, and that the overall recovery trend remains unchanged.