Domestic wholesale prices dropped 2.2 percent in July from the same month last year, marking the fifth consecutive month of decline, the Bank of Japan said Tuesday.

Compared with the previous month, however, the domestic wholesale price index remained unchanged for the second month in a row, at 97.5 against the 1995 base of 100, the central bank said. The wholesale price index measures inflation on the level of corporate transactions and is considered to foreshadow trends in consumer prices.

Wholesale prices of electronics goods fell 0.2 percent from June because of intensified sales competition, while those of chemical products such as benzene also marked a 0.4 percent decline, reflecting greater consumer demand for discounts, the BOJ said. Wholesale prices of electricity, gas and water rose 5.0 percent from the previous month because costs are set higher during summer, while petroleum product prices also rose 0.5 percent because of rises in the petroleum market, the central bank said.

Import prices meanwhile fell 0.4 percent from a month before when measured in yen terms. This represents a 2.7 percent rise from the same month last year, the BOJ said. Prices for imported computers dropped 0.2 percent in July due to sales competition on the Japanese market, the bank said.

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