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Core private sector machinery orders fell a seasonally adjusted 3.0 percent in May from the previous month to ¥668.2 billion, sinking to the lowest level on record and dashing hopes that the worst of the recession may be over, the government said Wednesday.

The fall flies in the face of the average market forecast of a 1.8 percent rise in a Kyodo News survey, while the value of orders was the smallest on record, which the government began compiling in April 1987.

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