Japan says economy grew 2.2 pct in Oct-Dec as exports jumped

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

TOKYO (AP) — Japan's economy emerged from recession in the last quarter, growing at a 2.2 percent annualized rate as exports and public spending helped to offset weaker residential investment.

The preliminary data released Monday put growth for the world's third-largest economy in 2014 flat at 0.0 percent, while real wages fell 0.1 percent.

They also included revisions to earlier growth figures that reflect a milder recession than earlier reported. The economy suffered two straight quarters of contraction following a sales tax hike in April.

Many economists had forecast an exit from recession in the October-December quarter thanks to stronger demand in the U.S., which is Japan's largest export market.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has sought to foster sustained growth through massive injections of cash into the economy, primarily through central bank asset purchases similar to those used in the U.S. under the Federal Reserve's quantitative easing policy.

The ultra-loose monetary policy is meant to spur inflation and counter years of deflationary stagnation, but so far Japan remains far short of the government and central bank's target of 2 percent.