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Japan’s consumer inflation ticked up and jobless rate hit 24-year low


(G.N.S.) Dt. 26
Japan’s households spent more than expected in November while consumer inflation ticked up and the jobless rate hit a fresh 24-year low, offering the central bank some hope an economic recovery will drive up inflation to its 2 percent target.
But the increase in prices was due mostly to a boost from rising fuel costs that is seen fading in 2018, keeping the Bank of Japan under pressure to maintain its huge monetary support even as other central banks seek an end to crisis-mode policies. Minutes of the BOJ’s October rate review showed that while most central bank policymakers saw no need to ramp up stimulus, they agreed on the need to sustain “powerful” monetary easing for the time being.
“There is a chance inflation may gradually accelerate towards the fiscal year beginning in April,” as a tightening job market pressures companies to raise wages, said Takeshi Minami, chief economist at Norinchukin Research Institute. “But inflation remains distant from the BOJ’s 2 percent target, so the central bank will probably maintain its current policy framework.”
Spending was driven by broadbased gains, with households loosening the purse strings for items such as refrigerators, washing machines, and sporting goods and services such as eating-out and travel.

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