Japan Gain Clouded by Europe Risk

Japanese economy expands at faster-than-expected annual rate of 4.1% in Q1.

Japan’s economy expanded faster than estimated in the first quarter, boosted by reconstruction spending that’s poised to fade just as a worsening in Europe’s crisis threatens to curtail export demand.

Gross domestic product rose an annualized 4.1 percent from the final three months of 2011, exceeding all but seven of 27 estimates in a Bloomberg News survey of economists, a Cabinet Office report showed today in Tokyo. Singapore also reported a rebound in growth last quarter, while warning about the risk of a disorderly European debt default.

’Catastrophic’ Result

The consequences of a Greek euro exit would be “unimaginable” and “catastrophic” for Europe, Malaysia’s central bank Governor Zeti Akhtar Aziz said in an interview with Bloomberg Television aired today.

Growth Estimate

Japan’s economic growth may be 2.2 percent in the second and third quarters, and 1.7 percent in the final three months of the year, according to the average forecast of 40 economists in a Japan Center for Economic Research survey released May 15.

Subsidy Effect

Government subsidies for purchases of fuel-efficient cars may expire in August, weakening demand later this year, according to Hiroaki Muto, a senior economist at Sumitomo Mitsui Asset Management Co. in Tokyo.

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