stock market burza.jpg

The Japanese economy expanded at an annualized rate of 1.7 per cent in the January to March period thanks to gains in public and consumer spending, the government said Wednesday.

Private consumption, which makes up 60 per cent of output, rose 0.5 per cent quarter on quarter, compared with a 0.8-per-cent decrease in the October to December quarter, the Cabinet Office said in a preliminary report.

Government spending increased 0.7 per cent in the first quarter of this year while public investment was up 0.3 per cent, the office said.

Meanwhile, corporate investment, which Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s government considers as key to propping up the world’s third-largest economy, fell 1.4 per cent.

Exports climbed 0.6 per cent quarter on quarter for the first growth in two quarters, while imports slipped 0.5 per cent for the second straight quarter of decline, the office said.

The economy shrank 1.7 per cent in the October to December quarter, revised down from 1.1-per-cent contraction estimated in March.

Despite the better-than-expected growth data in the first three months of 2016, Abe may postpone a scheduled sales tax hike due in April 2017 as his government has struggled to revitalize long-term economic growth.

Related stories

Japan slips back to deflation as markets slide

US jobless rate slips below 5 per cent

Third-quarter US growth hits two-year high

Latest news

Turkey removes restrictions on Islamic headscarves in the military

Female members of the Turkish military, including officers, will be allowed to wear the Islamic headscarf as long as it is color-compliant with their uniform, the Defence Ministry said on Tuesday, according to the state-run Anadolu news agency.

Protesters clash with police in Nepal anti-government shutdown

Anti-government protesters clashed with police in towns across southern Nepal and attacked a municipal building Wednesday as they forced a shutdown in the region over local elections.

Pollster: Trump presidency is causing Germany's AfD to lose support

A prominent German pollster said Wednesday that the "chaotic" leadership of US President Donald Trump has caused an electoral decline for Germany's right-wing Alternative for Germany (AfD) party.

Iraq's powerful Shiite militia attacks Islamic State near Mosul

Baghdad (dpa) - Iraq's powerful Shiite militia launched a major attack Wednesday to recapture areas near the city of Mosul from Islamic State, backing an ongoing government offensive against the radical Sunni group.

11 Bosnian citizens wanted by Interpol for terrorism

Acting on a request by Bosnia and Herzegovina, Interpol has issued an international arrest warrant for a national of that country, Amir Dzinic, for links to the terrorist organisation Islamic State, Bosnian media said on Wednesday.

Pakistani TV channel in hot water for airing film about lesbians

Pakistan's state media watchdog has warned a private TV channel for airing a film on the relationship between two lesbians, saying it was against the "social, ethical and societal norms of the country."

Stolen gate from former Nazi camp returns to Germany

A gate stolen in 2014 from a former Nazi concentration camp will be returned to the Dachau memorial site on Wednesday, after its return to Germany from Norway.

China wants to open 50,000 football schools by 2025

China plans to open 50,000 football schools by 2025, as part of a long-haul effort to become a world leader in the game, Chinese state media reported Wednesday.

Airbus profits take hit after write-off on new military aircraft

Airbus Wednesday announced that its profits for 2016 were down 63 per cent to 995 million euros (1,046 million dollars) after a major write-off on a troubled programme to develop a new military transport aircraft.

Monitor: Israeli jets hit arms depots near Damascus

 Israeli warplanes Wednesday hit arms depots near the Syrian capital Damascus, a monitoring group reported.

S African court invalidates International Criminal Court withdrawal

South Africa's government must seek legislative approval before it can withdraw from the International Criminal Court, ruled a court Wednesday, throwing up a roadblock to attempts to part ways with the international tribunal.

Senior Yemeni army commander killed while fighting rebels

A senior commander of Yemeni government troops died Wednesday while fighting rebels in the war-torn country's south-west, according to military sources.