Japan’s economy expanded less than economists estimated in the fourth quarter, underlining the difficulty in stoking growth while export gains are undermined by weak investment and consumption at home.
Gross domestic product grew at an annualized 2.2 percent, less than a median forecast for a 3.7 percent increase. Nominal GDP, which is unadjusted for price changes, climbed an annualized 4.5 percent from the previous quarter.
The softness of the rebound shows Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s challenge to revive the world’s third-largest economy from two decades of stagnation. Wage rises and increased consumer spending are likely to be pivotal this year to spur activity beyond exports, where the lower yen has contributed to surging profits at companies like Toyota Motor Corp.