from Raw Japan:
It's official: Japan's economy shrivelled at a record pace in the first quarter.
Needless to say the 4.0 percent contraction in GDP (an annual rate of 15.2 percent, if you speak American) from January to March was not pretty -- especially when you see that the pain has spread from Japan's big autos and tech factories to the broader economy.
OK, so a nearly 10 percent drop in U.S. sales is nothing to crow about, but it sure beats a 19.6 percent fall. Harley-Davidson’s stock is jumping today — and has more than doubled since March — because of stronger-than-expected earnings and a much smaller sales decline in its biggest market.
Ben Bernanke has taken some flack for his argument that “green shoots” of economic activity might lurk around the corner. In one such swipe, Justin Fox of Time Magazine argued that the metaphor is flawed because what we’re really talking about is a moderation of contraction, not growth.