Japan: The economy of Japan has grown for the eighth straight quarter, something not seen in almost three decades and shoppers are behind this latest boost.
A spending frenzy in the run up to Christmas helped drive an eighth straight quarter of growth. GDP ticked up 0.5 per cent between October and December. Imports also soared 2.9 per cent, fuelled by plenty of demand. The numbers weren't quite as strong as what economists were forecasting but Japan hasn't strung together this much back-to-back expansion since the bubble economy of the 1980s.
The country's central bank is keeping a close eye on this winning run as well. It needs to hit an elusive inflation target of 2 per cent and with these numbers, there might be some momentum building to finally reach that.
It's a victory of sorts for Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, with signs his 'Abenomics' policies are bearing fruit, reviving an economy that's spent decades churning at a snail's pace. Japan's Economy Minister, Toshimitsu Motegi said, "We expect an economic recovery primarily by growth in the private sector. We must, however, pay close attention to the instability of the overseas economy and the financial market."
The numbers also arrive amid reports that Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko Kuroda has been nominated for a rare second term. That likely means Kuroda's ultra-loose monetary policy will stay in place, capping borrowing costs around zero. It may be welcome news for investors worried that major central banks will soon hike interest rates after days of volatility on the markets.