Japan consumer prices rise for first time in 18 months

TOKYO, Japan (AFP) — Japan’s core consumer prices edged up 0.1 percent in September, the first increase since March 2020 partly due to a rise in fuel prices, official data showed Friday.

The latest figure was in line with market expectations, and comes after August’s prices were unchanged year on year, ending a run of 12 consecutive monthly declines.

Core consumer prices — which exclude volatile fresh food — had been trimming the pace of their declines in recent months, as global commodities inflation offset the impact of a pandemic-induced spending slump.

Data showed prices jumping for fuel and accommodation fees, while telecommunications prices dipped.

Consumer prices are closely watched for clues on the Bank of Japan’s monetary policy decisions.

The bank has a long-held inflation target of two percent, but has struggled to even approach the goal despite a raft of monetary policy measures.

Several other advanced economies are experiencing inflationary pressure as their economies emerge from the pandemic and massive financial support programs.

© Agence France-Presse