Japan confirms its economy shrank after two years of growth

The contraction has ended eight consecutive quarters of growth

Tokyo (AFP) – Japan’s economy slid into negative territory for the first time in two years at the beginning of the year, official data showed Friday, confirming preliminary figures issued last month.

The world’s third-largest economy contracted by 0.2 percent quarter-on-quarter in the January-March period, unchanged from the preliminary figure, the Cabinet Office said.

The new data also revises upwards the figure for the last quarter of 2017, to 0.3 percent from 0.1.

The contraction this year brings an end to a series of eight consecutive quarters of growth, a winning streak not seen since the heady days of the “miracle” boom of the 1980s when the Japanese economy ruled the world.

The data is a blow for the vaunted “Abenomics” policies of Prime Minster Shinzo Abe, though analysts expect the economy to quickly recover, with improvements in the labour market and upbeat business confidence still intact.