Tokyo, Japan (4E) – Consumer prices in Japan accelerated at a faster-than-expected pace in January, according to official data released Friday, as the economy slowly emerges out of a decade-long deflation.
The national core consumer price index (CPI) climbed 1.3 percent from the previous year in January, rising for the eighth consecutive month, according to the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications. The measure, which excludes volatile costs of perishables, also gained 1.3 percent in December, then the sharpest increase in more than five years.
The increase indicates that Japan is gaining ground in its battle against 15 years of deflation, which has hurt growth by cutting revenue, inhibiting spending and increasing debt.
The pro-growth policies of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe have helped prices go up from the middle of 2013, by lowering the value of the yen, which raised import prices, and lifted consumer spending. Last year also marked the first time in five years that the core CPI had its first annual increase.
Tokyo’s core CPI, which is a barometer of price trends for the rest of the country, increased 0.9 percent in February. The advance was the sharpest gain since November 2008 when it rose 1.1 percent, and surpassing economists’ estimate of 0.8 percent increase.