Japan GDP growth predicted in Oct.-Dec.

Japan GDP growth predicted in Oct.-Dec.

Private-sector researchers believe Japan's economy has grown for the first time in two quarters. They cite a rebound in consumer spending and corporate investment in the last quarter, following declines after a series of natural disasters in the summer.

Ten research institutions have released their GDP-growth estimates for October-to-December. All predict expansion.

Their inflation-adjusted figures range between 0.1 and 0.9 percent from the previous quarter. The annualized figures are 0.3 to 3.5 percent.

The disasters put a dent in consumer spending and corporate investment in facilities and equipment.

But the researchers now say private demand has since recovered.

The disasters also hurt exports. The institutions say shipments have regained ground, but only slowly. That's due largely to China's economic slowdown.

The less-optimistic analysts say Japan's GDP growth appears to be leveling off. The official figures are due out on Thursday.