Sunday, May 31, 2015Sunday, May 31, 2015

Consumer price data gives Japan a boost in battle against deflation

Published on Jan 31, 2014 9:30 AM

TOKYO (AFP) - Japan logged its first annual rise in consumer prices for five years in 2013, official data showed Friday, a boost for the government in its battle against stubborn deflation.

But surging post-Fukushima energy costs largely drove the rise, underlining the challenge still facing Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who is bidding to reverse years of falling prices and kickstart growth in the world's third-largest economy.

Key to that drive is the Bank of Japan's ambitious 2.0 per cent inflation target, the cornerstone of efforts to turn around an economy beset by weak consumer spending and tepid business investment.

The broad consumer price index, which measures a basket of everyday goods but excludes volatile fresh food costs, rose 0.4 per cent last year, the first annual increase since a 1.5 per cent rise in 2008.

Enjoy 2 weeks of unlimited digital access to The Straits Times. Get your free access now!