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Japanese banks enjoy returns as economy grows

Japanese banks enjoy returns as economy grows

(12 June 2013 – Japan) Bank lending in Japan has posted its biggest annual rise in over three years, as the economy recorded growth and its current account surplus doubled in April from a year earlier.

Data showed the world’s third-biggest economy grew 1 percent in the first quarter, revised up slightly from a preliminary estimate.

The new figures provide a fresh sign that sweeping stimulus policies by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe are paying dividends.

The current account surplus stood at ¥750 billion (A$8.18 billion), up 100.8 percent from a year earlier and much bigger than a median market forecast of a ¥320 billion surplus, data from the Ministry of Finance showed.

Bank lending rose 1.8 percent in May from a year earlier, the biggest annual increase since August 2009, in a sign the Bank of Japan's ultra-loose monetary policy is prompting companies to spend more.

'There isn't much change in the trade balance trend, where the weak yen is boosting import costs,' said Junko Nishioka, Chief Economist at RBS Securities Japan.

'Exports are gradually recovering as overseas growth picks up, so that's a positive sign. But the growth in exports isn't strong enough to offset the rising import costs.'

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