The rise in Japan’s business service prices has held steady at a three-decade high, in a development likely to fuel speculation that the Bank of Japan will inch its way toward normalizing policy in coming months.

The country’s services producer price index, a gauge measuring the costs of a range of goods and services provided by businesses to other firms and government entities, rose 2.3% in November from a year earlier, the BOJ said Tuesday. It was the second month of 2.3% gains — the fastest pace since April 1992, excluding periods when there were sales tax increases. The rise was slightly slower than the consensus call for a 2.4% gain.

Hotels, internet advertising and road transportation were some of the highest contributors to the yearly change, the data showed. Hotels in particular rose 51.8% compared with the previous year on the back of a surge in inbound tourism following the lifting of pandemic controls and domestic demand for travel.

Japan’s main consumer inflation gauges eased in November, but service prices rose at the fastest clip since October 1993, indicating that broader inflation may be moving beyond temporary cost-push factors.

In a speech Monday, BOJ Gov. Kazuo Ueda said that underlying inflation may hold steady. He noted that while some have argued prices and wages will stop growing if import price pressure wanes, he’s more optimistic.

Ueda is hopeful "that this time around, Japan’s economy will get out of the low-inflation environment and achieve a virtuous cycle between wages and prices,” he said.

About two-thirds of economists forecast the end of negative interest rates by April, according to a Bloomberg survey.