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Japan slipped back into a technical recession

May 19/2011

(ICIS) -- Japan slipped back into a technical recession as the earthquake and tsunami of 11 March significantly dented production and exports of the worlds third largest economy. Its economic output fell by 0.9% quarter on quarter, with the annualised rate of decline at 3.7%, according to data from Japans Cabinet Office released on Thursday. Most economists had been expecting a 2% year-on-year GDP contraction for the March quarter. A technical recession is defined as two consecutive quarters of shrinking economic output.

With its industries still trying to cope with a power shortage more than two months since the disasters that shoved the country into a nuclear crisis, Japans economic performance this quarter may be worse than the first quarters.

The crisis at the quake-damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant is regarded to be on par with the worst nuclear disaster on record at Chernobyl, which occurred 25 years ago.

Among the biggest casualties of the power shortage is the automotive sector, which is a major end-market for petrochemicals.

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