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Japan's economy headed to record 25% contraction: Goldman Sachs

People wearing masks walk along the normally crowded Nakamise alley in the Asakusa district of Tokyo, on April 8, 2020. (AP Photo/Koji Sasahara)

TOKYO (AP) -- Japan's economy is headed to a record 25% contraction in the current quarter, even with the just announced government fiscal aid package, as the new coronavirus slams consumer spending and business growth, Goldman Sachs said Wednesday.

    The dismal report by economists Naohiko Baba and Yuriko Tanaka said exports are expected to dive by 60% in the April-June period.

    The contraction for the world's third largest economy would be a record, since GDP, or gross domestic product, began to be tracked in 1955, according to the report.

    The measures in Japan to curtail the spread of the pandemic don't carry penalties, and public transportation continues to run. The declaration of a state of emergency centers around requests to work from home, and for department stores, restaurants and events to shut down. Grocery stores and banks remain open.

    The report says the declaration "will meaningfully change the behavior of individuals, business owners and event organizers."

    The government announced a 108 trillion yen ($1 trillion) rescue package, but the report estimates the perk to GDP will total only 14 trillion yen ($130 billion), from the cash handouts to needy families and monetary help to small businesses.

    The report doesn't take a view on the outbreak's future. But it says Japan's economic activity will likely recover with the third quarter as overseas economies pick up and will "gradually normalize" next year, picking up with the postponed Olympics held in the summer. Japan's GDP is expected to grow 3.1% in 2021, it said.

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