Japan prices rise for second month

TOKYO, Japan (AFP) — Japan’s core consumer prices rose slightly year-on-year in October for the second month running, driven in part by higher fuel prices, government data showed Friday.

The core consumer price index, which excludes volatile fresh food prices but includes fuel costs, was up 0.1 percent in October, tracking the same rise in September and in line with economist expectations.

The second monthly rise follows 18 months of declines or stagnation during the depths of the pandemic.

Excluding fuel costs however, prices were down 0.7 percent from a year earlier, according to the figures released by the Internal Affairs Ministry.

While many countries are battling higher inflation, Japan is still struggling to even approach its long-held two percent target, seen as key to turbo-charging the world’s third largest economy.

Economists said there was reason to expect higher underlying inflation in coming months, but within limits.

“Looking through artificial distortions and one-off hits, we still expect underlying inflation to accelerate to peak just shy of +1.0% early next year before falling back,” said Tom Learmouth, Japan economist at Capital Economics.

Last month, the Bank of Japan revised down its forecasts for consumer inflation from 0.6 percent to 0 percent for the year ending March 2022.

It however maintained its estimate of 0.9 percent for the 2022-23 fiscal year, with a rise to 1 percent in 2023-24.

© Agence France-Presse