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Japanese economy unexpectedly expands in Q1

The Japanese economy grew 2.1% on a seasonally adjusted annualized rate in the first three months of 2019, defying market expectations of a contraction, preliminary data from the country's Cabinet Office showed.

The Econoday consensus forecast Japan's first-quarter GDP to contract 0.2%. The reading for the fourth quarter of 2018 was revised downward to 1.6% from 1.9%.

On a quarterly basis, Japan's GDP grew at a seasonally adjusted rate of 0.5%, beating Econoday expectations of a 0.1% decline and accelerating from a downwardly revised reading of 0.4% in the last three months of 2018.

Exports declined 2.4% on a quarterly basis in the first quarter, while imports dropped 4.6% over the same period. Household consumption dipped 0.1%, compared with a 0.2% uptick in the fourth quarter of 2018, while private nonresidential investment decreased 0.3% after a 2.5% rise in the prior quarter.