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Japan CPI Climbs 1.6% On Year In December

japantrade 042110

Overall nationwide consumer prices in Japan gained 1.6 percent on year in December, the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications said on Friday.

That exceeded forecasts for an increase of 1.5 percent, which would have been unchanged from the previous month.

Core inflation, which strips out the volatile prices for food, was up an annual 1.3 percent - also topping expectations for a gain of 1.2 percent, which also would have been unchanged.

Among the individual components, prices for fuel were up 5.5 percent on year, followed by food (2.2 percent), transportation (2.1 percent), recreation (1.6 percent), education (0.7 percent), clothing (0.6 percent) and furniture (0.3 percent).

Medical care and housing both dipped 0.4 percent.

On a monthly basis, overall inflation was up 0.1 percent and core CPI was flat.

Among the individual components, prices for food climbed 0.6 percent on month and recreation added 0.2 percent. Prices for housing, transportation and education were flat.

Clothing prices shed 0.6 percent, while fuel, furniture and medical care all eased 0.2 percent.

Inflation for the Tokyo region - considered a leading indicator for the nationwide trend - was up 0.7 percent in January. That missed forecasts for 0.8 percent after showing 0.9 percent in December.

Core CPI was also up 0.7 percent - in line with expectations and unchanged from the previous month.

Among the individual components, prices for fuel were up 4.2 percent on year, followed by furniture (2.6 percent), recreation (1.3 percent), transportation (1.1 percent), clothing (0.6 percent) and food (0.3 percent).

Prices for medical care were down 0.8 percent and housing costs dipped 0.6 percent.

On month, overall Tokyo CPI was down 0.4 percent and core inflation dropped 0.6 percent.

Individually, prices for clothing plunged 6.4 percent on month, while recreation was down 1.8 percent, fuel dipped 0.5 percent and transportation eased 0.2 percent.

Education and housing costs were flat, while food prices added 0.4 percent and furniture climbed 1.5 percent.

Also on Friday, the ministry said:
• Japan posted a seasonally adjusted unemployment rate of 3.7 percent in December. Analysts had expected 3.9 percent, and the figure was down from 4.0 percent in November.

The job-to-applicant ration was 1.03, beating forecasts for 1.01 and up from 1.00 in the previous month. The participation rate was 59.0, down from 59.7 a month earlier.

The number of employed persons in December was 63.19 million, an increase of 910,000 or 1.5 percent on year. The number of unemployed persons in December was 2.25 million, a decrease of 340,000 or 13.1 percent on year.

• Average household spending in Japan was up 0.7 percent on year in December, standing at 334,433 yen. The headline figure was shy of estimates for an increase of 1.1 percent following the 0.2 percent increase in November.

The average of monthly income per household stood at 905,822 yen, down 1.7 percent on year, while the average of consumption expenditures per household was 358,468 yen, down 2.3 percent on year.

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