Japan inflation edges higher but BoJ still in a bind

TOKYO: Japan’s core inflation picked up slightly in March from a year earlier, but remained distant from the Bank of Japan’s ambitious 2 per cent target in a sign of rising pressure on the central bank.
Over the past year, policymakers have had to contend with a slowdown in global demand as the Sino-US tariff war put a dent in world trade and hit Japanese exporters. This has made the Bank of Japan’s task of generating inflation even more difficult.
Data on Friday showed a 0.8 per cent increase in the nationwide core consumer price index (CPI), which includes oil products but excludes volatile fresh food costs, compared with a median market forecast of 0.7 per cent. In February, annual core consumer inflation hit 0.7 per cent.
An index the BoJ focuses on — the so-called core-core CPI that strips away the effect of both volatile food and energy costs — rose 0.4 per cent in March, matching the annual increase in February. — Reuters