Japan's economy crawled out of recession in the fourth quarter of 2014, data on Monday showed, although the growth figures came in much weaker than expected.
Gross domestic product grew an annualized 2.2 percent, helped by a rebound in exports, but the figure missed a Reuters poll expecting a 3.7 percent gain. Quarter on quarter growth was 0.6 percent, lower than the 0.9 percent consensus.
Japan's economy slipped into technical recession in the third quarter after shrinking 1.9 percent and following a revised 7.1 percent contraction in the second quarter.
The economy got clobbered when consumers stopped spending following a rise in the nation-wide consumption tax to 8 percent that took effect last April, forcing the government to postpone a second sales tax initially due this October.
Investors seemed to be taking the news in stride. The benchmark Nikkei rose to an 8-year high in early trading on Monday, preferring to focus on the strong finish on Wall Street on Friday. Dollar-yen, meanwhile, was trading at 118.65, little changed from Friday.
"The fact that we came in softer than expected isn't a huge surprise but we're out of a technical recession," said Paul Gruenwald, chief economist for Asia Pacific at Standard and Poor's Ratings Services. "Numbers are soft but headed in the right direction."
Exports grew 0.2 percent in the quarter, a sign the weak yen was finally driving up external demand.