August 16, 2022

The Japanese government reported the country’s core consumer prices to have gained 0.5 percent in November from a year earlier. The gains have been attributed to the surge in energy costs and a weak yen though the Bank of Japan is still far from achieving its 2 percent inflation target.

According to the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications, the core consumer price index (CPI), excluding volatile fresh food items in November grew for the third straight month.

Summary of core CPI data –

• The energy prices gained 15.6 percent, thus accounting the largest increase since August 2008.
• In the reporting month, crude oil prices rose significantly, leading Kerosene prices to rise 36.2 percent from a year ago and gasoline prices to surge 27.1 percent.
• The country’s electricity bills, which track crude oil prices with a lag, rose 10.7 percent in November.
• In the reporting month, mobile phone fees recorded a sharp decline by 53.6 percent. Telecom companies in the country earlier this year introduced lower mobile phone fees amid government pressure to ease the burden on consumers, thus helping limit the rise in the headline inflation figure.
• The so-called core-core CPI, excluding both fresh food and energy items in November fell 0.6 percent, down for the eighth straight month.
• In November, the accommodation fees continued to surge up 57.6 percent from a year ago, when the government’s subsidy program to rejuvenate regional tourism in the nation led to sharp discounts.

According to reports, the country has seen prices rising only moderately compared with other nations, marking the sharpest gain in around four decades of 6.8 percent in November.

Japan’s inflation is expected to remain low despite upward pressure from commodity prices, giving the Bank of Japan (BOJ) a reason to maintain its relaxed money policies.

According to a ministry official, the prices in the country are rising steadily, where the central bank is projecting the core CPI in fiscal 2022 starting in April to rise 0.9 percent.

Japan had lifted its COVID-19 state of emergency in October, thus allowing economic activity to pick up.