COVID-19 Variant, Delayed Jabs Risks to Japan Economy: Economists

Economy

Tokyo, March 10 (Jiji Press)--Economists warned that possible spread of infections with variant strains of the novel coronavirus and a delay in vaccinations may put a further downward pressure on the Japanese economy.

The nation’s gross domestic product expanded at an annual rate of 11.7 pct from the previous quarter in price-adjusted real terms in October-December 2020, keeping a double-digit growth following a 22.8-pct gain in July-September in the same year, according to a revised GDP report released by the Cabinet Office Tuesday.

In January-March, however, it is widely seen inevitable that the economy will shrink as the government was slow in responding to a new wave of COVID-19 infections, which has been battering the country since late autumn last year.

The October-December GDP growth rate was revised down from the preliminary rise of 12.7 pct mainly due to a decrease in private-sector inventories, notably those of raw materials.

But economists positively interpreted the reduction of inventories, saying it resulted from a recovery in aggregate demand such as exports. They also took note that a downward revision made to the capital spending figure in the latest GDP report was very small.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press