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Wholesale prices fall for 10th month

Kyodo

Wholesale prices fell 0.2 percent in January from a year earlier for the 10th straight month of decline, reflecting a continued decline in prices of steel and information and communications equipment, including mobile phones, the Bank of Japan said Wednesday.

But the size of the decline was smaller than the revised 0.7 percent drop in December as prices of other materials-related goods such as petroleum and coal products rose due to the yen’s depreciation as well as a pickup in crude oil prices, a BOJ official said.

The index of corporate goods prices stood at 100.7 against the 2010 base of 100, the central bank said in a preliminary report.

By product, iron and steel prices fell 8.9 percent due partly to cheap material costs, but prices may start to recover amid expectations of a global economic recovery, the official said.

Also pressuring the prices are information and communications equipment, including televisions and mobile phones, which fell 6.6 percent, due to intense sales competition, the official said.

Meanwhile, prices of petroleum and coal products rose 6.3 percent and those of electric power, gas and water 4.2 percent.

“If the trend of a weakening yen continues, it is likely to keep pushing up corporate goods prices in the near term,” the official said.