Japan’s inflation in November slowed in line with expectations, while services showed signs that underlying price growth is spreading more widely in the economy — a key trend followed by the central bank amid ongoing speculation it will pare back its stimulus in coming months.

Consumer prices excluding fresh food items rose 2.5% from a year earlier as falls in energy costs deepened and gains in processed food prices eased, the internal affairs ministry reported Friday. The result matched forecasts by economists.

Meanwhile, service prices rose by 2.3%, the fastest pace since October 1993 excluding the impact of sales tax hikes, in an indication that inflation may be moving beyond temporary cost-push factors.