Japan’s inflation speeds up as central bank weighs interest rates

Prices in world’s third-largest economy grew 3.3 percent in June amid expectations BOJ will stick to ultra-loose policy.

Japan's inflation accelerated in June [File: Kim Kyung-Hoon/Reuters]

Japan’s consumer prices rose at a faster pace in June, staying above the central bank’s target for the 15th consecutive month.

Japan’s core consumer inflation hit 3.3 percent year-on-year last month, compared with price growth of 3.2 percent in May, official data showed on Friday.

“Core core” inflation, which excludes fresh food and fuel prices, slowed to 4.2 percent, after a 4.3 percent rise in May.

The inflation figures come as the Bank of Japan (BOJ) is set to make its latest decision on interest rates next week.

The BOJ is widely expected to keep the benchmark rate unchanged at -0.1 percent, sticking to an ultra-loose monetary policy as other central banks hike rates to tame inflation.

Masamichi Adachi, an economist at UBS Securities, told Bloomberg that the inflation figures did not suggest the BOJ would announce any major policy changes.

“It’s pretty clear that inflation will slow from here as import-driven price gains taper off,” Adachi said.

Japan’s inflation, while running at a four-decade high and above the BOJ’s long-term goal of 2 percent, has been much less severe than in countries such as the United States and the United Kingdom.

Since the bursting of a large asset bubble in the early 1990s, Japan has swung between periods of meagre price growth and deflation.

Successive central banks have adopted a policy of ultra-low and negative interest rates to revive the world’s third-largest economy with limited success.

Source: News Agencies