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[TOKYO] Japan's wholesale prices rose an annual 3.5 per cent in November, the fastest rate in nine years, the Bank of Japan said, in a sign that rising global commodity costs were driving up corporate expenses.
Analysts say it is uncertain whether household spending is resilient enough to allow firms to pass the higher costs on to consumers, but Tuesday's data may offer some hope that consumer inflation could be headed towards the central bank's two per cent target.
"Wholesale prices continue to move on a firm note" but only a handful of goods, such as steel products, are seeing prices rise on robust domestic demand, a BOJ official told a briefing.
The increase in the the corporate goods price index (CGPI), which measures the price companies charge each other for goods and services, exceeded a median market forecast for a 3.3 per cent rise and followed a 3.4 per cent gain in October.
It was the fastest rate of increase since October 2008, when wholesale prices rose 4.5 per cent from a year earlier.
Overall final goods prices, or the prices of finished products charged to businesses, rose 1.4 per cent. Domestic final goods prices, which loosely track the consumer price index, rose one per cent from a year earlier, the data showed.