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"There is a strong possibility that the economy has entered a recession, a senior Japanese official acknowledged as the government's analysis of key indicators for June was downgraded from that of last month. The May assessment noted that "the economy is increasingly weakening." In a related announcement earlier Thursday, Finance Minister Masajuro Shiokawa said Japan's gross domestic product for the April-June quarter would slide further from the 0.2 contraction between January-March and the final quarter of 2000.

Wholesale prices in the US rose last month, but only by 0.1 percent, the Labor Department reported. In releasing its producer price index, the department said the increasing costs of electricity and heating oil were offset by generally declining food prices. Economists had expected a 0.3 percent increase, matching the April rate. Meanwhile, the ratio that measures how long it takes retailers to sell off existing inventories, rose to 1.44 months in April, the Commerce Department reported. The last time the ratio was that high was January 1999.

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Emery Worldwide, a leading hauler of air freight, has cut 900 jobs and will mothball 16 of its planes, an announcement said. The company is a subsidiary of CNF Inc. of Palo Alto, Calif.

(c) Copyright 2001. The Christian Science Monitor


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