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Japan upgrades growth outlook
The Japanese government upgraded its assessment of the economy on Monday, in a further sign that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's aggressive polices are beginning to reignite growth.

The upgrade was the first in two months, and an improvement from April when it said the economy was showing signs of recovery but still had some weak spots.

The government's latest take on the economy came ahead of the Bank of Japan's two-day meeting ending on Wednesday, which is expected to leave policy unchanged after announcing a sweeping monetary expansion campaign in early April to vanquish 15 years of entrenched deflation.

Since Mr Abe unveiled his strategy in November to end two decades of economic stagnation the yen has slumped to a 4-1/2 year low versus the dollar and share prices have rocketed by 70pc.

Dubbed "Abenomics", the moves mark a renewed assault on the deflation that has plagued Japan's economy for years, crimping private spending and business investment, and the move has already helped the country's exporters to recover.

Electronics giant Sony booked its first annual profit in five years this month, while carmaker Toyota more than tripled its earnings.

Mr Abe is hoping that the wealth-creating effects of a buoyant stock market and expectations for further improvement in the broad economy will generate a virtuous circle of consumption, investment and employment that will ultimately revitalise growth.

"We are implementing fiscal and monetary policies under Abe's administration, and this has set the stage for a V-shaped recovery," said Economics Minister Akira Amari said.

"Normally exports lead growth, but this time consumer spending is playing the leading role," Amari told a news conference after the government released its latest assessment of the economy.

Data last week showed that the Japanese economy grew by 0.9pc in the first three months of the year, confirming Japan's exit from recession as consumers spent more, although the nation's cautious firms did not follow suit.

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