The pace of gains in Japan’s producer prices decelerated in November to the slowest in almost three years, supporting the Bank of Japan’s view that inflationary pressure is moderating.

Japan’s producer price index, a measure of input prices for firms, rose 0.3% from a year earlier, the weakest pace of growth since February 2021, when the index fell by 0.9%. November marked the 11th straight month in which the pace slowed. Economists forecast a 0.1% increase. From the prior month, prices rose 0.2%, matching the consensus estimate.

Lumber and utilities costs continued to sharply decline compared with the previous year, according to the report.

Producer price growth stayed below the most recent consumer inflation reading for a third month. Growth in consumer prices excluding fresh food inched up to 2.9% in October. The November CPI data are due on Dec. 22.

The persistent slowdown in the index this year is in line with the BOJ’s view that price pressures are cooling. Tokyo inflation, a leading indicator for national trends, weakened in November to the slowest pace in over a year.

Still, another metric showed the largest rise in business service prices in over three decades when excluding years in which the sales tax was hiked.

Most economists expect the BOJ to stand pat at its board meeting ending on Dec. 19, with half of those surveyed by Bloomberg predicting authorities will scrap the negative rate policy in April.