Japan's big growth streak just came to an end

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Antagonisms between Washington and Beijing over trade also threaten to hurt the economy indirectly given Japan's importance as a source of parts and technology for products made or assembled in China.

Japan's economy, the world's third largest, shrank by 0.6 percent on an annualized basis, a much more severe contraction than the median estimate for an annualized 0.2 percent decline.

The Japanese economy contracted for the first time in two years in the first quarter of 2018. "Consumers will keep purse strings tight unless the pace of wage increases shows a clear acceleration", said SMBC Nikko Securities Chief Market Economist Yoshimasa Maruyama.

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They say the preliminary real GDP fell 0.2 percent from the previous quarter.

Economists don't expect the period of contraction to last long.

Economists say Japan's first-quarter contraction is temporary, but the rebound will not be almost as strong as previous quarters.

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Fourth quarter growth was revised to an annualized 0.6 percent, down from the 1.6 percent estimated earlier.

That snaps a run of eight quarters of consecutive growth, the longest Japan has achieved since the boom days of the late 1980s.

Capital investment was down 0.1 percent.

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"The economy is unlikely to continue to contract further".

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