Japan CPI posts fastest rise in over 7 yrs

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
A farmer uses a machine to harvest onions on Awaji Island in Hyogo Prefecture in early June.

TOKYO (Jiji Press) — Core consumer prices in Japan rose 2.4 % from a year earlier in July, marking the steepest growth since December 2014, government data showed Friday.

The growth was led by rises in food, electricity and gas prices on the back of soaring resource and raw material costs, as well as the yen’s weakening.

For July, the core consumer price index, which excludes often volatile fresh food prices, stood at 102.2 against the 2020 base of 100. It grew year on year for the 11th straight month, and its ascent topped 2 % for the fourth consecutive month, the internal affairs ministry said.

If the readings in 2014 and 2015, when consumer prices were affected by a consumption tax hike, are excluded, the CPI logged the fastest rise since August 2008.

The July reading matched the median forecast by 17 economic research institutes in a Jiji Press poll.

The overall CPI, including fresh food prices, rose 2.6 %, the sharpest rise since December 1991 if the impacts of consumption tax hikes are excluded.

The narrower index excluding fresh food and energy prices was up 1.2 %.

Prices rose for 376 of the 522 surveyed items, up from 365 in the previous month.

By category, food prices, excluding fresh food prices, grew 3.7 %, the highest growth in seven years and four months, with bread prices up 12.6 % and cooking oil prices up 40.3 %, due to a surge in imported grain prices.

Onion prices shot up over 70 %. Prices of fresh seafood, such as salmon, also rose due to higher transportation costs.

Energy prices rose 16.2 %, slower than in June. Electricity and city gas bills surged 19.6 % and 24.3 %, respectively, reflecting higher crude oil prices stemming from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.