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Japan's core inflation hits two-year low

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Japan's core inflation slowed to its weakest in about two years in June, underlining policymakers' long battle to boost consumer prices and adding to speculation the Bank of Japan could deliver more stimulus later this month.

Tokyo

JAPAN'S core inflation slowed to its weakest in about two years in June, underlining policymakers' long battle to boost consumer prices and adding to speculation the Bank of Japan could deliver more stimulus later this month.

With the global economy slowing and factory production faltering in the face of the Sino-US trade war, BOJ officials have said they remain ready to expand stimulus, joining the US Federal Reserve in signalling an easing may be coming soon.

Japan's core consumer price index, which includes oil products but excludes fresh food prices, rose 0.6 per cent in June from a year earlier, matching economists' median estimate.The June reading was the weakest since July 2017 when the index climbed 0.5 per cent and compared with a 0.8 per cent gain in May.

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The so-called core-core CPI, which strips away the effects of volatile food and energy costs, was up 0.5 per cent in June from a year earlier. It is closely watched by the BOJ to gauge how much the economy's strength has translated into price gains.

Despite years of heavy money printing, the data shows the central bank is still a long way off from achieving its elusive 2 per cent inflation target as the US-China trade dispute and slowing global demand put pressure on the export-reliant economy. REUTERS