/

September wholesale prices rise at fastest pace in nine years

Kyodo

Wholesale prices rose 3.0 percent in September from a year earlier, gaining at the fastest pace in about nine years amid higher oil prices, the Bank of Japan said Thursday.

Prices in transactions of goods among companies climbed for the ninth straight month, logging the biggest increase since October 2008 after stripping out the effect of a 3 percentage-point consumption tax hike in 2014.

The upward momentum of wholesale prices could lift up consumer prices if businesses decide to pass costs on to their customers, helping the central bank push nationwide inflation closer to its 2 percent target.

Consumer prices including energy but not fresh foods are slowly increasing but remain far below the target, rising a tepid 0.7 percent year-on-year in August.

“Demand is growing amid a global economic recovery. There are still geopolitical risks, but they are not having as much of an effect as before,” a BOJ official said of factors behind the rise in wholesale prices at a press briefing.

Among components of September wholesale prices, oil and coal products rose 13.7 percent as oil-rich countries continued to cut back on production.

Nonferrous metals were up 19.3 percent amid expectations of brisk demand from China, the world’s second-largest economy, while iron and steel were up 11.9 percent on higher raw material costs.

In yen terms, import prices were up 13.5 percent as the weaker Japanese currency inflated oil prices, while export prices were up 9.4 percent.