Japan’s economy grew 1 percent in 2016, slowed in Oct-Dec




TOKYO (AP) — Japan's economy expanded at a slightly slower than expected 1.0 percent annual pace in 2016, helped by an uptick in exports, the Cabinet office reported Monday.

The world's third-largest economy grew 0.2 percent in the last quarter, from the previous quarter, according to preliminary data, the slowest pace for the year. Quarterly growth peaked at 0.6 percent in the first quarter of 2016 and slowed from that rate.

The Japanese economy grew 1.2 percent in 2015. But slower growth in China sapped demand for machinery and other inputs for much of 2016. A modest recovery in the region's biggest economy helped lift exports late in the year.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has sought to rekindle growth through lavish monetary easing meant to foster inflation and stimulate demand. But manufacturers have been slow to invest or raise wages, and the consumer demand that drives most business activity has remained tepid.

Japan's current account surplus, a wide measure of the country's trade and investment flows, hit a nine-year high in 2016, up 25 percent from a year earlier. That partly reflects the growing share of economic activity based overseas, where many Japanese companies are investing to tap into higher growth than they can find at home.
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