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Wholesale prices gain for 10th month straight

Kyodo

Wholesale prices rose 2.4 percent in January from a year earlier for the 10th straight monthly gain as the yen’s depreciation boosted import costs for energy, the Bank of Japan said Thursday.

The index of corporate goods prices stood at 102.9 against the 2010 base of 100, the central bank said in a preliminary report.

The prices were pushed up as those of oil and coal products climbed 10.7 percent and electricity, gas and water bills grew 11.0 percent, in line with the yen’s drop against other major currencies, a BOJ official said.

Lumber and wood product prices rose 14.4 percent on strong housing demand in Japan and the United States as well as higher material import costs, he added.

The yen’s fall slowed recently, but prices still gained in lumber and automobile-related products and began to pick up in a broader range of items, the official said.

Meanwhile, prices of information and communications equipment dropped 4.3 percent and those of electric components and devices slipped 1.8 percent.

The central bank “will keep monitoring whether the rising trend of wholesale prices since late 2012 will continue amid Japan’s moderate economic recovery,” the official said.

On a month-on-month basis, the index was up 0.1 percent from December.

Japanese export prices in yen terms climbed 7.9 percent and import prices grew 12.7 percent due to the yen’s slide.

On a contract currency basis, export prices dropped 2.0 percent while import prices rose 0.4 percent.