Masamichi Adachi, an economist at JPMorgan Chase in Tokyo: “monthly data and anecdotal information suggest that economic activity has bottomed in March and an improvement likely will continue.”
TOKYO — Japan’s economy shrank at an annual rate of 3.7 percent in the first quarter, tipping the country into a recession, as the March 11 earthquake and tsunami disrupted production and prompted consumers to cut back on spending.
The drop-off, reported Thursday, was worse than economists had expected. Among 23 economists surveyed by Bloomberg, the average projection was for a drop of 1.9 percent.
The figures also indicated Japan’s second consecutive quarter of economic contraction, leading the country, by most assessments, into its second recession in less than three years.
Economists project that the Japanese economy will shrink again in the current quarter, which ends in June, as production continues to falter and weigh on industrial output and exports.