Japanese economy contracted for the first time in nine quarters

Japan's first quarter GDP shrinks more than expected in setback for'Abenomics

Japan's first quarter GDP shrinks more than expected in setback for'Abenomics

People walk past an electronic board showing exchange rate between Japanese Yen and U.S. Dollar outside a brokerage at a business district in Tokyo, Japan, March 23, 2018.

Japan will on Wednesday release preliminary Q1 numbers for gross domestic product, highlighting a modest day for Asia-Pacific economic activity.

Expectations were for an annualised contraction of 0.2%.

The limp first-quarter performance was spread across different areas of the economy, according to Marcel Thieliant, senior Japan economist at research firm Capital Economics.

Australia will provide Q1 data for wage prices, which are expected to hold steady at 0.6% on quarter and 2.1% on year. However, there are concerns that trade friction with the USA could affect demand for exports.

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"The economy maintains momentum towards recovery but exports are slowing as global growth seems to have peaked in the fourth quarter", said Ryutaro Kono, chief economist at BNP Paribas Securities.

Japan's economy contracted at an annualized rate of 0.6%, marking the end of eight consecutive quarters of economic expansion.

As of 9:15 a.m. local time, the 225-issue Nikkei Stock Average dropped 47.21 points, or 0.21 percent, from Tuesday to 22,770.81.

Consumer spending fell marginally, registering a decline of less than one percentage point in the first quarter.

Maruyama of SMBC Nikko Securities.

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