Japan's Economic Growth Slows

Japan said May 19 its economic growth slowed sharply from the blistering pace of late last year as consumers became more cautious, but it was still a better performance than expected.

Japan's gross domestic product (GDP) grew by 0.5% in the three months to March from the previous quarter, down from a revised 1.1% pace seen in the three months to December, the Cabinet Office said.

On an annualized basis, the world's second largest economy grew by 1.9% in the March quarter, slowing from a revised 4.3% clocked in the previous three-month period.

It was a fifth straight quarter of positive growth as Asia's largest economy stayed on the road to recovery after a slump stretching back over a decade.

One soft spot was private consumption where growth slowed to a quarterly rate of 0.4% from 0.6%.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2006

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