TOKYO: Japan's businesses and consumers are bracing themselves for a possible hike in interest rates this week following robust growth in the country's economy during the last calendar quarter of 2006. GDP grew 1.2% in real terms from the preceding quarter, according to preliminary data released by the government.

The rise represents annualized growth of 4.8%, the fastest rate of expansion since the January-March quarter in 2004.

Consumer consumption rebounded from a fall during the summer months but the basic trend for private consumption remains weak, rising 0.6% on a year-to-year basis.

Data sourced from Wall Street Journal Online; additional content by WARC staff