Strong exports help Japan growth beat forecasts

Japan's economy grew more than expected in the fourth quarter.

That as a rebound in overseas demand helped boost exports and capital spending.

The world's third-largest economy expanded by an annualized 12.7% over the October-December period, well ahead of analyst forecasts.

Overseas shipments surged by more than 11%, helped by a rapid recovery in China.

The overall performance beat the U.S. and euro zone, and economists say it means Japan's GDP has now probably recouped about 90% of its losses from lockdowns earlier in the year.

But the coming months could be tougher.

Japan lags western nations in rolling out vaccines.

A resurgence in infections has forced the government to scrap a travel discount campaign that helped support service spending.

Renewed state of emergency measures were rolled out in January, and are set to stay in force until March.

Analysts bet that will mean a fresh hit for retailers, and see GDP shrink again in the current quarter.