Asia

Japan revises upward growth estimate for Jan-Mar, to 1.9 pct

  • A shopper buys a product at a dry seafood shop in Tokyo Wednesday, June 8, 2016. Japan has revised upward its estimate of growth in the first quarter of this year, thanks to smaller drop in business investment than reported earlier. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)

    A shopper buys a product at a dry seafood shop in Tokyo Wednesday, June 8, 2016. Japan has revised upward its estimate of growth in the first quarter of this year, thanks to smaller drop in business investment than reported earlier. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)  (The Associated Press)

  • Workers construct a building in Tokyo Wednesday, June 8, 2016. Japan has revised upward its estimate of growth in the first quarter of this year, thanks to smaller drop in business investment than reported earlier. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)

    Workers construct a building in Tokyo Wednesday, June 8, 2016. Japan has revised upward its estimate of growth in the first quarter of this year, thanks to smaller drop in business investment than reported earlier. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)  (The Associated Press)

  • A shop clerk holds a price banner at a bag shop in Tokyo Wednesday, June 8, 2016. Japan has revised upward its estimate of growth in the first quarter of this year, thanks to smaller drop in business investment than reported earlier. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)

    A shop clerk holds a price banner at a bag shop in Tokyo Wednesday, June 8, 2016. Japan has revised upward its estimate of growth in the first quarter of this year, thanks to smaller drop in business investment than reported earlier. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)  (The Associated Press)

Japan has revised upward its estimate of growth in the first quarter of this year, thanks to smaller drop in business investment than reported earlier.

The government said Wednesday that the economy grew at a 1.9 percent annual pace in January-March. That was an improvement over a preliminary estimate of a 1.7 percent expansion. The quarterly rate of growth was raised to 0.5 percent from 0.4 percent.

The latest data suggest stronger-than-expected growth in the current quarter. Still, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe judged the situation bleak enough to justify pushing back a planned April 2017 increase in the sales tax by two and a half years, to October 2019.

The latest data showed private consumption rose 0.6 percent in January-March, compared with an earlier estimate of 0.5 percent.