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Official Data: Germany overtakes Japan as third-biggest economy

Tokyo, Japan, February 17 ------ Japan's economy grew 1.9 percent last year but was still overtaken by Germany as the world's third-biggest economy primarily due to a sharp fall in the yen, official data showed. 


Japan's nominal 2023 gross domestic product in dollar terms was $4.2 trillion, government data showed, compared to $4.5 trillion for Germany, according to figures revealed last month. The yen slumped more than 18 percent in 2022 and 2023 against the dollar including around seven percent last year in part because the Bank of Japan -- unlike other major central banks -- has maintained negative interest rates. Both economies rely heavily on exports and have major problems, but Japan is suffering more than Germany from an acute shortage of workers as its population falls and birth rates remain low. 


India, with its burgeoning young population and higher growth rates, is projected to leapfrog both to become the world's third-biggest economy behind the United States and China later this decade. 


Japan's economy contracted 0.1 percent in the three months to December, according to the preliminary data released by the Cabinet Office, missing market expectations of growth of 0.2 percent. It was the second straight quarterly drop in output after a revised 0.8 percent contraction in the July-September quarter, the data showed. 




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