By Jonathan Davies

Japan's economy fell into recession in the third quarter after an unexpected second consecutive contraction.

The worlds third largest economy contracted by 1.6% in the three months to the end of September, compared with the same period last year.

Forecasts had predicted growth of 2.1%.

The third quarter followed a contraction of 7.3% in the second quarter, which was the biggest since the earthquake and tsunami hit the country in 2011.

Economists expect the news to delay a rise in sales tax. The tax is due to go up to 10% next year and anticipation of the increase had sparked a rise in retail sales when it was increased from 5% to 8%.

Private consumption, which accounts for around 60% of Japan's GDP was weaker than expected and is believed to be a key reason behind it falling into recession.

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