Japan Raises Economic Assessment for First Time in Nine Months

Japan’s government raised its assessment of the economy even as the nation’s stocks headed for the longest streak of weekly losses since 2001 on concern that Europe’s debt crisis is worsening.

“The Japanese economy is on the way to recovery at a moderate pace, reflecting emerging demand for reconstruction, while difficulties continue to prevail,” the Cabinet Office said in the monthly report released in Tokyo today.

Stocks in Asia slid today after U.S. economic data missed estimates and a rating cut of Spanish banks fueled concern Europe’s debt crisis is deepening. The government said downside risks to Japan’s economy include sharp fluctuations in financial markets and a slowdown in global growth amid uncertainties in Europe.

A government report yesterday showed Japan’s economy grew more than expected in the first quarter as private consumption rose and reconstruction spending from last year’s earthquake boosted public investment. Economy Minister Motohisa Furukawa said yesterday that the economy shows upward movement and gradual growth may continue.

The Cabinet Office raised its evaluation of consumer spending, exports, corporate profits and employment in the May report.

Looking ahead, the government said the economic recovery is expected to become certain due to emerging demand from reconstruction.

The government lowered its evaluation of China’s economy for the first time in three months, saying that growth is moderating in Japan’s largest trading partner.

To contact the reporter on this story: Keiko Ujikane in Tokyo at kujikane@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Paul Panckhurst at ppanckhurst@bloomberg.net

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