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After 6 years of growth, Japan's economy sputters

iPhone drags down parts exports but analysts expect summer rebound

Rising prices for vegetables and other everyday goods are taking a bite out of buying power for Japanese consumers.

TOKYO -- Japan's six-year economic recovery likely stumbled in the January-March quarter, as exports of electronic parts and other items stalled while rising prices for everyday goods turned off consumers.

Real gross domestic product including goods prices slipped an annualized 0.2% on the year, based on the average of assessments from 12 private research firms, hinting at the first contraction since the final quarter of 2015. Japan only recently reached its first eight-quarter growth streak in 28 years with a 1.6% uptick in the October-December period.

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