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Japan's Nov consumer prices rise for 11th straight month, spending jumps
[TOKYO] Japan's core consumer prices rose for the 11th straight month and household spending jumped in November, offering the central bank some hope a steady economic recovery will gradually drive up inflation to its two per cent target.
But the increase in prices was due mostly to a boost from rising fuel costs that is seen fading in 2018, keeping the Bank of Japan under pressure to maintain its huge monetary support even as other major central banks seek an end to crisis-mode policies.
The nationwide core consumer price index (CPI), which includes oil goods but excludes volatile fresh food prices, rose 0.9 per cent in November from a year earlier, government data showed on Tuesday, just ahead of a median market forecast for a 0.8 per cent annual rise and October's 0.8 per cent gain.
Core consumer prices in Tokyo, available a month before the nationwide data, were up 0.8 per cent in December from a year earlier, faster than a median market forecast for 0.7 per cent growth.
Separate government data released on Tuesday showed household spending rose 1.7 per cent in November from a year earlier, much higher than market forecasts for a 0.5 per cent increase.
Japan's economy grew an annualised 2.5 per cent in July-September to mark a seventh straight quarter of growth thanks to robust exports and capital expenditure.
But the inflation rate remains distant from the BOJ's two per cent target, as firms remain wary of scaring away cost-sensitive consumers with price hikes.
The BOJ kept monetary policy steady last week and its governor reassured markets the central bank will lag well behind overseas peers in ending its ultra-loose monetary settings.