Producer prices surge 10% in April in Japan

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
The Bank of Japan building

TOKYO (Jiji Press) — Producer prices in Japan climbed 10.0% from a year before in April, marking their first double-digit rise since comparable data became available in 1981, due to soaring commodity prices, the Bank of Japan said Monday.

The producer price index, which measures costs of goods traded between businesses, rose for the 14th straight month to 113.5 against the 2015 base of 100, its highest level since data began in 1960, the central bank said.

Economists surveyed by Jiji Press had projected a 9.4% increase in the index.

Crude oil prices have remained high since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, while prices for commodities such as nonferrous metals and grains have soared.

The yen’s downtrend against the dollar is putting additional upward pressure on prices in Japan.

Inflationary pressure is unlikely to ease any time soon. The impact of high commodity costs on prices in Japan “has not been fully felt,” a central bank official said.

The yen-based import price index jumped 44.6% in April from a year before, driven higher partly by the currency’s weakness. The impact of foreign exchange rates “has been felt gradually,” the central bank official said. The yen plunged by as much as 16 to the dollar in foreign exchange markets between March and early May.

In April, prices for oil and coal products soared 30.9%, and steel prices grew 29.9%. Nonferrous metal prices surged 25.0%.

Prices for food and beverages rose 3.7% as costs for feed soared due to the war in Ukraine.