Japan economy grows 2.4 pct in Jan-Mar on housing rebound

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

TOKYO (AP) — Japan says its economy expanded at a faster-than-expected 2.4 percent annual rate in January-March, thanks largely to a rebound in housing construction.

Economists expect the pace of growth to slow, however, in the second quarter due to anemic corporate investment and public spending.

The government reported Wednesday that preliminary estimates show the world's third-biggest economy expanded 0.6 percent from the previous quarter. It was the second straight quarter of growth following a recession in mid-2014 brought on by a sales tax hike that crippled private demand.

Housing investment rose 7.5 percent in Jan-March from the year before, helped by changes in regulations that encourage demolition of older, unoccupied homes.

The report said public investment plunged 5.5 percent, though real incomes rose 0.6 percent, helping to underpin demand.