Japan's economy shrank 0.9 percent in January-March from the previous quarter, marking a second straight quarter of contraction, Cabinet Office data showed on Thursday, as the March earthquake and tsunami and ensuing nuclear crisis weighed heavily on capital spending and private consumption.
The contraction in Japan's gross domestic product exceeded the average forecast in a Reuters poll of economists that it would shrink 0.5 percent from the previous quarter.
Following are key points from the gross domestic product (GDP) data:
-- Annualized GDP for January-March shrank 3.7 percent from the previous quarter, also the second straight quarter of contraction and worse than the minus 2.0 percent projected by economists.
-- Private consumption, which accounts for about 60 percent of Japan's economy, fell 0.6 percent after a revised 1.0 percent slip in the final quarter of 2010.
-- Capital spending fell 0.9 percent, down for the first time in six quarters, after a revised a 0.1 percent increase in October-December.
-- Net exports shaved 0.2 percentage point off Japan's GDP in January-March, marking a negative contribution for the third straight quarter.
-- Domestic demand shaved 0.8 percentage point off GDP growth, a negative contribution for a second quarter in a row.
-- The GDP deflator fell 1.9 percent in the first quarter from a year earlier, falling for a sixth straight quarter.
-- Japanese Economics Minister Kaoru Yosano said the economic contraction in the first quarter was due largely to the impact of the March 11 earthquake and the economy had the strength to bounce back.
-- Yosano expects Japan's economy to achieve nearly 1 percent growth in the current fiscal year that began in April.
(Reporting by Kaori Kaneko; Editing by Edmund Klamann)