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Consumer sentiment worsened in July for the first time in seven months, Cabinet Office data showed Thursday, apparently reflecting concern about the impact of the strong yen and a downturn in overseas economies.

Cabinet Office Parliamentary Secretary Keisuke Tsumura said at a press conference that data indicate consumers “realize more or less that the economy is entering a lull,” with other statistics also showing a slowdown in the pace of recovery.

The monthly survey showed that the index of confidence among households made up of two or more people fell 0.2 point from the previous month to 43.3, after marking in June the highest level since September 2007.

The government left unchanged its assessment of consumer confidence, saying it “has shown movement toward improvement,” after an upgrade in June.

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