[TOKYO] Japan’s consumer prices rose for the seventh straight month in July, but chiefly due to energy costs, government data showed Friday.
After stripping out the volatile cost of fresh food, the inflation rate came in at 0.5 per cent, in line with market expectations, according to the internal affairs ministry.
Excluding fresh food and energy, prices edged up just 0.1 per cent in July.
The figures are still way off the Bank of Japan’s 2.0 inflation target – seen as crucial to conquering Japan’s long struggle to slay deflation, blamed for holding back the once-booming economy.
Japan’s prospects have recently improved on the back of solid exports, with investments linked to the Tokyo 2020 Olympics also giving the economy a shot in the arm.
The labour market is tight and business confidence is high but efforts to lift inflation have fallen flat despite years of aggressive monetary easing by Japan’s central bank.
And the recent gains in prices have largely been due to higher energy costs rather than a broad-based rise backed by stronger consumer spending.