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Sentiment among Japanese merchants fell to a six-year low in June as higher food and oil prices discouraged consumers from spending, the Cabinet Office said Tuesday.

The Economy Watchers index, a survey of barbers, taxi drivers and others who deal with consumers, dropped to 29.5 from 32.1 in May. A forecast of conditions in two to three months slid from 35.1 to 32.1, the worst since September 2001.

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