Japanese economy contracted for the first time in nine quarters

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Japan's economy relies on exports of electronics, among other products.

Exports rose 0.6 percent.

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Given Japan's reliance on export-led growth, trade friction brought on by President Donald Trump's efforts to trim the perennial USA trade deficit has raised uncertainty over the outlook for the economy.

This is a concern for Japanese manufacturers because many of these machines and electronic components are sent to China, where they are used to produce goods for export, but this trade is at risk if the Trump administration's threatened tariffs on Chinese exports go ahead.

Economists don't expect the period of contraction to last long.

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Economists polled by Reuters suggest Japan's economic growth has decreased by an annualised rate of 0.1% in the first quarter of 2018 after recording 1.6% growth in the final quarter of 2017.

As of 9:15 a.m. local time, the 225-issue Nikkei Stock Average dropped 47.21 points, or 0.21 percent, from Tuesday to 22,770.81.

That snaps a run of eight quarters of consecutive growth, the longest Japan has achieved since the boom days of the late 1980s. Heavy snows in February also restricted household spending by keeping consumers inside and driving up vegetable prices.

Maruyama of SMBC Nikko Securities.

A sales tax hike to 5 percent from 3 percent in 2014 caused a large fall in consumer spending and tipped the economy into recession.

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