Tokyo (1)

The Japanese economy has avoided another recession after reporting better-than-expected growth in the first quarter of 2016.

Following a contraction in the final quarter of 2015, another slowdown in the economy would've signalled a recession. However, Japan's economy grew by 1.7% compared with the first three months of last year.

A recession was prevented by greater spending by the government to offset weaker business investment and exports.

In January, the central bank introduced negative interest rates in a bid to spark spending and growth in the economy. Consumer spending accounts for roughly 60% of GDP in Japan, making moves to boost spending all-the-more important.

However, there are concerns that the government will raise its sales tax from 8% to 10%, which would hurt consumer spending.