THE ECONOMIST--Japan's economy recorded surprisingly strong growth in the first quarter of 2008, according to preliminary government data released on May 16th. Real GDP growth accelerated to 0.8% quarter on quarter, from 0.6% in the previous quarter (see chart above). This translates into a robust expansion of 3.3% in annualized terms. The key drivers of growth were exports and private consumption, both of which performed unexpectedly well.
Note: Real GDP growth in Japan has increased in each of the last four quarters.