June 2, 2017 / 7:52 AM / 2 months ago

Japan first quarter GDP seen revised up on increased capital expenditure

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FILE PHOTO: A laborer works in a container area at a port in Tokyo, Japan, March 16, 2016.Toru Hanai

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan's economy was expected to have expanded more quickly in the first quarter than initially estimated, buoyed by gains in corporate capital spending, a Reuters poll showed on Friday.

Economic growth was seen at an annualized 2.4 percent in the first quarter, revised up from a preliminary estimate of 2.2 percent, the median forecast of 18 analysts showed.

That translates into 0.6 percent growth from the previous quarter, slightly up from the 0.5 percent gain seen in preliminary data.

The poll found capital spending was seen to rise 0.5 percent in the first quarter, up from a preliminary estimate of 0.2 percent.

The revised data is expected to affirm an export-led recovery in Japan helped by a pickup in the global economy, although households remain cautious over spending, given sluggish wage growth.

"Rises in capital spending suggests a positive spillover from growth in exports," said Takeshi Minami, chief economist at Norinchukin Research Institute.

"The level of consumer spending remains low but it is picking up very, very slowly."

Analysts expect the economy to continue growing in the current quarter thanks to robust offshore demand, but risks from some Trump administration policies and in China's economy remain.

The Cabinet Office will release GDP data at 8:50 a.m. on June 8 Japan time (2350 GMT on June 7).

Japan's April current account data is also due next week and is expected to show the surplus shrinking due in part to a narrowing trade surplus.

The poll's median forecast put Japan's April current account surplus at 1.6988 trillion yen ($15.22 billion), from 2.9 trillion yen in March.

Reporting by Kaori Kaneko; Editing by Eric Meijer

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