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Exports fell for the first time in more than four years as demand for cars and electronics cooled, signaling the U.S. slowdown is spreading to the emerging markets that helped sustain growth.

Exports decreased 1.7 percent in June from a year earlier, the Finance Ministry said Thursday in Tokyo. The median estimate of 20 economists surveyed by Bloomberg News was for a 3.3 percent gain. The drop was the first since November 2003.

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