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Analysts predict a sharp Japan GDP fall, influencing monetary policy.

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Japanese national flags flutter in front of buildings at Tokyo’s business district in Japan

Some experts fear a rare unexpected adjustment to Japan’s first-quarter GDP may sharply reduce the central bank’s growth expectations and the timing of its next interest rate rise.
The government said on Tuesday that it would modify January-March GDP estimates to reflect construction order data revisions and release them on July 1.

The substantial negative adjustment to building orders data suggests the revised January-March GDP estimates will show the economy fell more than predicted, economists believe.
Yoshiki Shinke, senior executive economist at Dai-ichi Life Research Institute, anticipates the adjustment to indicate Japan’s first-quarter GDP contracted 2.7% annually, compared to 1.8% now.

He said the change may lower Japan’s economic growth for the fiscal year that ended in March to 1.0% from 1.2% and lower the Bank of Japan’s growth estimates for the current fiscal year.
“What’s worrying is that the revision could affect monetary policy,” by causing the BOJ to lower its growth predictions in updated quarterly forecasts expected July 30-31.

Many analysts anticipate the central bank to raise rates from near zero this year, with some wagering on the July meeting.
“It could make it somewhat difficult for the BOJ to justify raising interest rates if it were to sharply downgrade its fiscal 2024 forecast,” said Shinke.
The BOJ predicts 0.8% economic growth in fiscal 2024. Its willingness to hike interest rates if the economy meets its prediction increases the likelihood of inflation reaching 2%.

After rising 0.4% in the previous quarter, Japan’s GDP fell 1.8% in the first quarter due to sluggish consumption and exports, figures published on June 10 revealed. Analysts expect the July 1 adjustment will lower GDP estimates for the third and fourth quarters of last year.

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