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Economists forecast 18% growth in Japan's economy in July-Sept.

People wearing face masks walk in Tokyo's Ginza area on Oct. 3, 2020. (Kyodo)

TOKYO (Kyodo) -- Japan's economy is likely to have grown an annualized real 18.03 percent in the July-September period, the biggest expansion in 40 years, as business activities restarted despite the coronavirus pandemic, market forecasts showed Wednesday.

    The average projection by 34 private-sector think tanks points to a sharp rebound from the 28.1 percent contraction in gross domestic product the previous quarter, believed to be the worst on record dating back to 1955, the earliest point at which the government can track reference values.

    The Cabinet Office is scheduled to release preliminary GDP data for the July-September quarter on Monday.

    The projection corresponds to a seasonally adjusted 4.22 percent growth from the previous quarter, according to the Japan Center for Economic Research, which conducted the survey from Oct. 29 to Nov. 6.

    It would be the first growth in four quarters and the biggest expansion since the April-June period of 1980, according to Cabinet Office data.

    The Japanese economy has been showing signs of recovery from the initial impact of the pandemic, which forced the country to impose a state of emergency from early April through late May that saw people asked to stay home and some businesses told to suspend operations.

    With the economy having restarted, consumption and exports are expected to have recovered, helping the overall growth in the reporting quarter.

    The economists also forecast that GDP in the October-December and January-March quarters will expand an annualized 4.04 percent and 2.46 percent, respectively.

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