Key consumer prices fell 0.1 percent in September compared with the previous year, reflecting falling prices for televisions and other appliances and reaching five consecutive months of decline, the government said Friday.
The core consumer price index, excluding fresh foods, stood at 99.8 against the 2010 base of 100, the Internal Affairs and Communications Ministry said.
The decline was smaller than the year-on-year decline of 0.3 percent logged in August, due mainly to higher gasoline prices driven by rising crude oil prices.
The change in September’s core CPI was traced to energy-related prices, a ministry official said. “Other than that, not much change was observed generally” in the price trend, he said.
In Tokyo, meanwhile, the core CPI for the 23 wards in October, which indicates nationwide price moves down the road, fell 0.4 percent from a year earlier to 99.3.
The latest figures underscore the persistent deflationary pressure dogging the economy and could prompt the Bank of Japan to further ease monetary policy Tuesday.
“Deflation basically continues to remain in place,” said Daiwa Institute of Research economist Masahiko Hashimoto.
“Regarding the outlook, it remains considerably difficult” to see a 1 percent year-on-year rise in the CPI in fiscal 2014, he said, although the central bank earlier said it would happen “in the not so distant future from fiscal 2014 onward.”
By product, TVs dropped 4.7 percent from a year ago, while prices for overseas tours dropped 11.6 percent on a decline in fuel surcharges, the official said.
Prices of such appliances as Blu-ray disc recorders and printers also fell, the official said.