Japan set to match record 73-month economic expansion


Japan’s economy is on track in December to equal its record postwar expansion streak with a 73rd consecutive month of growth, according to the government’s monthly economic report released Wednesday.

Once this is confirmed by the Cabinet Office, which typically takes a year to a year and a half, the current recovery will officially match the record set by the period between February 2002 and February 2008.

That “appears to be highly likely,” Economic and Fiscal Policy Minister Toshimitsu Motegi told reporters.

The streak has been driven by a growing global economy, which has fueled brisk exports and capital spending. The Bank of Japan’s monetary easing program put downward pressure on the yen, bolstering profits at exporters. Wages have risen amid a labor shortage, while an increase in foreign tourism has improved economic conditions nationwide.

The government said the economy is “recovering at a moderate pace” for a 12th straight month. The report struck a more negative tone than last month on public works spending, noting recent weakness, but maintained its view of improvement in consumer spending, capital investment and industrial production.

As for inflation, the government said industrial prices are “rising at a slower tempo recently,” the same description used for consumer prices and a downgrade from the moderate rise seen last month.

The report cited “uncertainty in overseas economies” and “fluctuations in the financial and capital markets” as risk factors. The U.S. and Japanese stock markets have seen steep downturns in recent months, and some analysts warn that world growth has passed its peak.


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