Tokyo consumer prices fell yet again this month

The key gauge of Tokyo’s consumer prices fell 0.8 percent in October from a year earlier, marking a record 37th straight month of decline, the government said Friday.

The consumer price index for Tokyo’s 23 wards, excluding prices of perishable foods, came to 97.9 against the 2000 base of 100, the Public Management, Home Affairs, Posts and Telecommunications Ministry said in a preliminary report.

Compared with the previous month, however, the index was unchanged.

Including perishables, the index also fell 0.8 percent from a year earlier to 97.9, down for the 38th consecutive month, and edged down 0.1 percent from the previous month, the ministry said.

Consumer prices in Tokyo are regarded as the leading indicator of prices across the country.

Contributing to the decline were housing rents, which fell 1.2 percent from a year earlier; electricity charges, down 6.1 percent; prices of durable goods for education and entertainment, such as computers, down 12.3 percent; and prices of household durable goods including air conditioners and refrigerators, down 7.9 percent.

“The fall in electricity charges is attributed to Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s continuing reduction of electricity bills” in the face of power industry deregulation, a ministry official said.

By item, notable price falls were logged by notebook personal computers, down 26.1 percent; desktop computers, down 19.8 percent; air conditioners, down 15.7 percent; and refrigerators, down 15 percent.

At the same time, the ministry reported that the nationwide CPI for September, excluding perishables, came in at 98.3, down 0.9 percent from a year earlier. This constituted the 36th consecutive month of year-on-year decline but was unchanged from the previous month.

Including perishables, the index also remained unchanged from the previous month at 98.5, but fell 0.7 percent from a year before, down for the 37th consecutive month.