Japan's GDP up but exports down in last quarter

Japan's latest GDP figures suggest the easing of COVID regulations has consumers spending again.

The Cabinet Office says the economy grew by an annualized 1.6 percent in real terms in the January to March period, the first time in three quarters it has been in positive territory.

Consumer spending accounts for more than half of Japan's GDP and was up 0.6 percent from the previous quarter. Service-sector spending such as travel and dining increased, sales of new cars were strong, and corporate investment grew 0.9 percent due to robust investment in the automobile sector.

But exports took a hit, sliding more than 4 percent.

Shipments to China, Europe and the United States all dipped due to weakening economies overseas.

Japan's GDP expanded 1.2 percent overall in fiscal 2022. It was the second straight year of growth.