Japanese workers’ real wages fell in February for a 23rd consecutive month after consumer price growth accelerated, exerting a drag on spending, in an outcome that will likely keep the central bank on hold for now.

Real cash earnings for workers dropped 1.3% from a year earlier, the labor ministry reported Monday, a steeper decline than in the previous month. Economists forecast a 1.4% retreat. Nominal wages grew 1.8%, in line with the consensus estimate.

The latest decline in real wages comes as growth in consumer prices accelerated to 2.8% in February, the quickest pace since November.