A sushi chef prepares a plate at the Toyosu Market...

A sushi chef prepares a plate at the Toyosu Market Monday, Jan. 29, 2024, in Tokyo. Japan's economy managed to grow in the fourth quarter of last year, averting a recession, according to revised government data released Monday, March 11, 2024 that had previously shown a contraction. Credit: AP/Eugene Hoshiko

TOKYO — Japan's economy managed to grow in the fourth quarter of last year, averting a recession, according to revised government data released Monday that had previously shown a contraction.

Real gross domestic product, or GDP, grew in October-December at an annual pace of 0.4% instead of a contraction of 0.4%, according to the Cabinet Office.

Real GDP is a measure of the value of a nation’s products and services. The annual rate measures what would have happened if the quarterly rate lasted a year.

The revision reflects an improvement in private capital investment. It also means Japan avoided sinking into a technical recession, generally defined as two straight quarters of contraction.

The growth rate for the whole year stood unchanged at 1.9%. Japan's economy grew 0.1% in the final quarter of last year from the previous quarter.

Expectations are mixed on what the latest data might mean ahead of Bank of Japan policy board meetings. Some expect the central bank to start raising interest rates this month or next month. Japan has so far stuck to a super-easy monetary policy.

The data show consumer spending remains weak as wage growth dulls, inflation sets hold in previously deflation-struck Japan and the yen continues to weaken against the U.S. dollar.

“The results also highlight the sluggishness of private consumption, reflecting a decline in purchasing power. Private consumption is likely to remain weak,” S&P Global Market Intelligence said in an analysis.

The GDP revision had been expected because of recent data showing robust capital expenditures.

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