Japanese input prices were unchanged last month from a year earlier, the weakest showing in almost three years as the yen’s recent gains helped cap import costs.

The December producer price index, a measure of input prices for firms, was flat versus the same period in 2022, the first month without an advance since February 2021 and the 12th consecutive month in which price growth decelerated. The reading was a tad stronger than the consensus call for a 0.3% decline. From the prior month, prices rose 0.3%, outpacing expectations of no change.

The figure was in line with the Bank of Japan’s view that inflationary pressure will ease for some time before picking up again. Data on Friday is expected to show that growth in consumer prices excluding fresh food, the core gauge, slowed to 2.3% in December. Tokyo inflation, a leading indicator for the national trend, weakened last month to the slowest pace in over a year.