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Japan Core CPI Falls 0.1% On Year In January


Core inflation in Japan eased 0.1 percent on year in January, the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications said on Friday - unchanged from the previous month and beating forecasts for a decline of 0.2 percent.

Overall inflation was up 0.1 percent on year versus forecasts for a contraction of 0.1 percent after shedding 0.2 percent in December.

On a monthly basis, core CPI was down 0.2 percent and overall inflation was up 0.2 percent.

Among the individual components, prices for fuel were up 4.7 percent on year, while transportation was up 1.3 percent, food was up 1.0 percent, clothing was up 0.7 percent and education was up 0.2 percent.

Recreation prices fell 4.1 percent on year, while furniture was down 2.9 percent, medical care was down 1.1 percent and housing was down 0.3 percent.

On a monthly basis, furniture prices were up 3.4 percent, while food was up 1.8 percent, transportation was up 0.3 percent and education was up 0.1 percent.

Clothing prices dropped 5.9 percent, while recreation was down 1.1 percent and fuel and housing each eased 0.1 percent.

CPI in the Tokyo region, considered to be a leading indicator for the national trend, was down 0.2 percent on year in February - matching forecasts and holding steady following the revised January reading.

Core CPI in Tokyo was down 0.3 percent, beating forecasts for -0.4 percent - which would have been unchanged from the previous month.

On a monthly basis, Tokyo overall CPI was flat, while core CPI was up 0.1 percent.

Among individual components, fuel costs surged 7.3 percent on year, while education was up 0.7 percent, clothing was up 0.3 percent and transportation was up 0.2 percent.

Furniture prices plunged 5.4 percent on year, while recreation was down 3.1 percent, housing was down 0.8 percent and medical care was down 0.7 percent.

By month, clothing prices climbed 1.7 percent, while recreation was up 0.9 percent.

Furniture prices were down 1.0 percent, while transportation was down 0.7 percent and food eased 0.2 percent. Housing, fuel and education all were flat.

Also on Friday:

• The average household spending in Japan was down 2.3 percent on year in January, the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications said, standing at 283,118 yen. That was well shy of forecasts for a contraction of 0.9 percent following the 0.5 percent increase in December.

The average of monthly income per household was 430,485 yen, up 2.4 percent, while the average of consumption expenditures fell 2.8 percent to 309,483 yen.

• The unemployment rate in Japan came in at a seasonally adjusted 4.6 percent in January, the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications said. The missed forecasts for a 4.5 percent rate, which matched the revised reading from December.

The number of employed persons in January was 62.11 million, a decrease of 480 thousand or 0.8 percent on year. The job-to-applicant ratio was 0.73, beating forecasts for 0.72 after coming in at 0.71 in the previous month. The participation rate was 58.6 percent.

• The monetary base in Japan was up 11.3 percent on year in February, the Bank of Japan said, standing at 112.44 trillion yen. That follows the 15.0 percent annual expansion in January.

Banknotes in circulation were up 2.2 percent on year, while coins in circulation added 0.1 percent on year. Current account balances spiked an annual 52.8 percent, including a 51.9 percent surge in reserve account balances.

The adjusted monetary base plummeted 23.6 percent on year to 115.170 trillion yen.

• Upon the release of the data, the Japanese yen showed little changes against major rivals, trading near 81.15 against the U.S. dollar, 108.04 versus the euro, 89.60 against the franc and 129.47 versus the pound.

by RTTNews Staff Writer

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