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The government on Wednesday downgraded its assessment of business conditions with the release of a key economic indicator that was below the boom-or-bust line for the second consecutive month in December, thanks to weak production and consumption indicators.

The index of coincident economic indicators, a key gauge of the current state of the economy, stood at 44.4 percent in December, up from a revised 30 percent the previous month, the Cabinet Office said in a preliminary report.

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