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Japan's core consumer prices rise 2.1% in May

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Tokyo, June 24 (Ajit Weekly News) Japan’s core consumer prices rose 2.1 per cent in May from a year earlier, staying above the central bank’s inflation target for a second straight month, owing to rising prices for energy and food, the government said in a report on Friday,

According to the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications, the nationwide core consumer price index, excluding volatile fresh food items, increased for the ninth straight month in May, reports Xinhua news agency.

The statistics bureau’s data showed that inflation is continuing and showing no signs of let-up as the yen’s persistent weakness continues to push up import costs for resource-poor Japan.

The statistics bureau also said the waning year-on-year impact of lower mobile data fees also contributed to the latest rise in inflation.

The bureau said that energy prices leaped 17.1 per cent from a year earlier, while kerosene prices surged 25.1 per cent.

Gasoline, meanwhile, soared 13.1 per cent in the recording period despite government subsidies.

Food prices, excluding perishables, were up 2.7 per cent, to mark the fastest pace of gain in around seven years with some retailers forced to pass on rising prices to consumers which could affect demand.

Skyrocketing prices will be one of the major focuses of the next month’s upper house election, with Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s government under fire from opposition parties for not being proactive enough in combating the price-rise predicament.

The core-core CPI, meanwhile, excluding both energy and fresh food prices, was up 0.8 per cent, the bureau said, marking the second straight month of increase.

The Bank of Japan’s (BOJ) has remained steadfastly committed to maintaining its ultra-easy monetary policy, believing that the current rise in inflation will be temporary.

But other central banks in Europe and the US have hiked their interest rates to combat inflation, with a widening interest rate gap between the BOJ and other central banks adding to the yen’s weakness and putting pressure on the bank to adjust its long-held dovish policy.

–Ajit Weekly News
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