Japan’s economy set to show 7 straight growth quarters

Japan’s quarter-on-quarter growth of 0.3 percent is expected after a revised 0.6 percent rise in the second quarter. (Reuters)
Updated 10 November 2017
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Japan’s economy set to show 7 straight growth quarters

TOKYO: Japan’s economy was expected have grown for a seventh straight quarter in July-September, a period of unbroken expansion last seen between 1999 and 2001, a Reuters poll found on Friday.
Gross domestic product (GDP) is expected to have grown at an annualized rate of 1.3 percent in the third quarter, the poll of 20 analysts showed.
That result would mark a seventh straight growth quarter, the longest period of expansion since an eight-quarter run from April-June 1999 to January-March 2001.
Quarter-on-quarter growth of 0.3 percent is expected after a revised 0.6 percent rise in the second quarter.
“Consumer spending was seen stalling in July-September but export growth likely supported solid economic expansion,” said Atsushi Takeda, chief economist at Itochu Economic Research Institute.
The poll found that private consumption, which accounts for roughly 60 percent of GDP, probably slipped 0.4 percent in the third quarter, the first fall in seven quarters.
External demand — or exports minus imports — was seen contributing 0.4 percentage point to growth, the poll found, after it subtracted 0.3 percentage point from GDP growth in April-June.
Capital spending was seen rising 0.3 percent in the third quarter, growing for a fourth straight quarter, following a 0.5 percent rise the previous quarter.
“We forecast the economy will continue to grow as both domestic and external demand pick up thanks to the global economic recovery and a softer yen,” said Hidenobu Tokuda, senior economist at Mizuho Research Institute.
“But there is downside risk from the Chinese economy and we also need to closely monitor geopolitical risk from the North Korean situation,” he said.
The Cabinet Office will announce the GDP data on November 15 at 850am.
The Bank of Japan’s corporate goods price index (CGPI), which measures the prices companies charge each other for goods and services, was seen likely to have risen an annual 3.1 percent in October, the poll found.
Such a result would mark a 10th straight rising month and the fastest annual rate of increase since October 2008, excluding the effect of a sales tax hike in 2014.
The central bank will release the CGPI data on November 13 at 850am Japan Time.


Can a hungry Mali turn rice technology into ‘white gold’?

Updated 20 October 2018
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Can a hungry Mali turn rice technology into ‘white gold’?

  • Malians are cautiously turning to a controversial farming technique to adapt to the effects of climate change
  • Dubbed the System of Rice Intensification (SRI), the new method was pioneered in Madagascar in 1983

BAGUINEDA: When rice farmers started producing yields nine times larger than normal in the Malian desert near the famed town of Timbuktu a decade ago, a passerby could have mistaken the crop for another desert mirage.
Rather, it was the result of an engineering feat that has left experts in this impoverished nation in awe — but one that has yet to spread widely through Mali’s farming community.
“We must redouble efforts to get political leaders on board,” said Djiguiba Kouyaté, a coordinator in Mali for German development agency GIZ.
With hunger a constant menace, Malians are cautiously turning to a controversial farming technique to adapt to the effects of climate change.

 

Dubbed the System of Rice Intensification (SRI), the new method was pioneered in Madagascar in 1983. It involves planting fewer seeds of traditional rice varieties and taking care of them following a strict regime.
Seedlings are transplanted at a very young age and spaced widely. Soil is enriched with organic matter, and must be kept moist, though the system uses less water than traditional rice farming.
Up to 20 million farmers now use SRI in 61 countries, including in nearby Sierra Leone, Senegal and Ivory Coast, said Norman Uphoff, of the SRI International Network and Resources Center at Cornell University in the US.
But, despite its success, the technique has been embraced with varying degrees of enthusiasm. Uphoff said that is because it competes with the improved hybrid and inbred rice varieties that agricultural corporations sell.
For Faliry Boly, who heads a rice-growing association, the prospect of rice becoming a “white gold” for Mali should spur on authorities and farmers to adopt rice intensification.
The method could increase yields while also offering a more environmentally-friendly alternative, including by replacing chemical fertilizers with organic ones, he said.
He also pointed out that rice intensification naturally lends itself to Mali’s largely arid climate.

FACTOID

Up to 20 million farmers now use rice intensification in 61 countries, including in nearby Sierra Leone, Senegal and Ivory Coast.