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Japanese economy sinks amid fears about virus impact

Posted on Sunday, February 16th, 2020 By Yuri Kageyama, AP Business Writer


In this May 10, 2019, file photo, a man walks in shade of a building as other people rest at a bench in Tokyo. The Japanese economy shrank at an annual pace of 6.3% in the October-December period, as growth got battered by typhoons and crimped consumer spending. The seasonally adjusted data released Monday, Feb. 17, 2020, by the Cabinet Office comes amid looming fears about the damage the regional economy is almost certain to suffer from the outbreak of a new virus that began in China late last year.(AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko, File)

TOKYO (AP) — The Japanese economy shrank at an annual pace of 6.3% last quarter as growth was battered by typhoons and crimped consumer spending.

The seasonally adjusted economic data released Monday by the Cabinet Office comes amid looming fears about the economic damage expected from the new viral illness COVID-19 that began in China late last year.

Japan's gross domestic product, or GDP, the sum of the value of a nation's products and services, slipped 1.6% in the last three months of 2019 quarter-on-quarter.

The annualized rate shows what the drop would have been if that same pace had continued for a year.

The contraction for the October-December period was the first Japan had in more than a year. The amount of decline was the worst in about five years.

The news sent the Nikkei 225 benchmark stock index falling in trading Monday.

Domestic demand fell in the quarter at an annual pace of 8.0%.

Hurting people's spending was the rise in the consumption tax from 8% to 10% in October.

Both exports and imports fell during the quarter.

The new viral illness is likely to affect various aspects of the economy.

Japan had been counting on Chinese tourists in recent years to sustain growth, but visits have dwindled to a trickle.

Japanese companies have halted or adjusted production, because of supply chain disruptions or work suspensions at their own factories in China.

Overall consumption is likely to drop as people avoid crowds.

“The concerns for the export focused economy is continued pressure amid the coronavirus," said Jingyi Pan, market strategist at IG in Singapore of Japan's GDP.

___

Yuri Kageyama is on Twitter https://twitter.com/yurikageyama

Top 8 Companies That Are Adapting to a Post-Coronavirus World

The unintended consequences of the coronavirus pandemic are being played out in homes and apartments throughout the world. More and more employees are working from home, that’s if they have a job to go to. Entire industries are effectively shut down as the world attempts to slow the spread of the virus.

At some point, however, things will return to normal. But it will be a new normal. There are many businesses that won’t reopen, and many industries that will forever be changed. As an investor, now is the time to get out your crystal ball. Timing the market is a fool’s errand. But looking at what industries are positioned to thrive in a world that will be changed by the coronavirus is a prudent strategy.

We’ve identified 8 companies that are adapting to what the economy will be like in a post-coronavirus world. It will undoubtedly be more digital than it already is. Supply chains may become more vertically integrated as “Made in America” may take on a whole new meaning. As will the idea of working from home, going to a concert, or even preparing a meal.

View the "Top 8 Companies That Are Adapting to a Post-Coronavirus World".

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