Tokyo, May 20 (Jiji Press)–Japan’s core consumer prices rose 2.1 pct in April from a year earlier, gaining at a pace above the central bank’s target of 2 pct for the first time in more than seven years, government data showed Friday.
The pace of rise in the core consumer price index accelerated from 0.8 pct in March due to soaring commodity prices and because a year has passed since spring 2021 when mobile phone carriers started offering low-cost plans.
Excluding the impact of a consumption tax increase in April 2014, the core CPI, which strips out volatile fresh food prices, marked its biggest rise since September 2008.
The core CPI stood at 101.4 against the 2020 base of 100, rising for the eighth straight month, the ministry said.
“Higher material prices and the yen’s decline pushed up energy and nonperishable food prices,” an internal affairs ministry official said.
The Bank of Japan, seeing the current wave of price increases driven by higher commodity costs as unsustainable, has vowed to maintain its powerful monetary easing to reach its 2 pct inflation target in a sustainable way.
Energy prices climbed 19.1 pct in April, led by a 21.0 pct gain in electricity bills, a 23.7 pct rise in city gas charges, a 15.7 pct gain in gasoline prices and a 26.1 pct increase in kerosene prices.
Nonperishable food prices rose 2.6 pct due to higher ingredient costs and the yen’s depreciation, marking the fastest gain since March 2015. The pace of decrease in mobile phone charges slowed to 22.5 pct from 52.7 pct in March.
The overall CPI, including fresh food prices, went up 2.5 pct, while the index excluding fresh food and energy prices gained 0.8 pct.