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Japan GDP figures show growth engines are on the blink

Personal consumption and external demand are both sluggish

Japanese consumers bought appliances ahead of the sales tax increase in October, but overall spending is weak.

TOKYO -- Japan eked out annualized economic growth of 0.2% for the July-September period, achieving a fourth straight quarterly expansion but clearly suffering from sluggish demand at home and abroad.

The slowing global economy is taking a toll, with external demand stuck in negative territory. On the domestic front, personal spending lacks vigor aside from a spike just ahead of the consumption tax increase in October. This leaves the economy without a growth engine.

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