Japan prices edge up 0.5pc in 2017, far below target

Tokyo: Japan’s consumer prices edged up in 2017 for the first time in two years, government data showed on Friday, but inflation was still far below a longstanding target.
Japan has notched up seven straight quarters of economic growth —the longest positive run for 16 years — with the upcoming 2020 Olympic Games giving the economy a shot in the arm.
But it has struggled to achieve the 2.0 per cent inflation rate thought crucial to boosting the world’s third-largest economy.
Government data released on Friday showed the core inflation rate was up 0.5 per cent last year following a 0.3 per cent fall the previous year.
“The rate was largely sustained by energy prices as consumer buying sentiment remains weak,” said Yosuke Yasui, senior economist at the Japan Research Institute.
“It is still very difficult to achieve the two-per cent target,” Yasui said.
In December alone, the core inflation rate rose 0.9 per cent from a year earlier, the 12th straight year-on-year gain, the internal affairs ministry said. — AFP