Business

Japan's inflation up 0.7% but 
still off target

TOKYO Japan's consumer prices rose last month, official data showed yesterday, but inflation was still way below the central bank's target, as authorities struggle to slay deflation in the world's third-biggest economy.

After stripping out volatile prices for fresh food, inflation was 0.7 per cent, according to the internal affairs ministry, the eighth straight month of price rises and in line with market expectations.

Excluding fresh food and energy, prices edged up just 0.2 per cent last month compared to the same month the previous year.

The figures are nowhere near the Bank of Japan's 2 per cent inflation target - seen as crucial in a long battle against deflation that is blamed for holding back the once-booming economy.

Japan's prospects have recently improved, however, with investments linked to the Tokyo 2020 Olympics giving the economy a boost.

Yesterday, the ministry also said last month's household spending edged up 0.6 per cent from a year earlier.

This was slightly lower than market expectations of a 0.9 per cent rise but the first gain in two months, the ministry said.

In an environment in which inflation is low or prices are falling, consumers tend to delay making purchases, pushing down household spending.

Meanwhile, the country's jobless rate stood at 2.8 per cent, a level unchanged since June. - AFP

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