Page last updated at 06:33 GMT, Friday, 16 May 2008 07:33 UK

Exports bolster Japan's economy

Japanese workers
Demand from China helped exporters weather the credit crunch

Japan's economy grew at a faster-than-expected pace in the first three months of 2008 as exporters weathered the global credit crunch.

Gross domestic product in the world's second largest economy expanded at a 3.3% annual pace in the period, much higher than the 0.6% US growth rate.

Strong appetite for Japanese goods from China and other emerging markets offset weak demand from the US.

But analysts warned that the global slowdown could hurt future growth.

"The strong growth suggests there may be a backlash in the April-June quarter," said Takeshi Minami, chief economist at Norinchukin Research Institute.

"The results appear a little too good to be true," he added.

The official data showed the economy grew 0.8% from the previous quarter.

It was the third consecutive quarter of growth.

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