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Domestic wholesale prices in 1998 dropped 1.5 percent from the previous year, while those for December remained unchanged from the month before, the Bank of Japan said Friday.

With the exception of 1997, in which average domestic wholesale prices went up 0.6 percent due to the consumption tax hike, domestic wholesale prices have been falling continually since 1992, according to bank officials.

The domestic wholesale price index in 1998 stood at 97.5 against the base of 100 set in 1995, down 1.5 percent from 1997. The latest figure is taken as an indication that the current deflationary trend has been accelerated.

As the index’s 0.6 percent rise in 1997 is attributed to the 2-percentage-point consumption tax hike, the 1998 decline is effectively the seventh straight year of declining prices since 1992, the central bank added.

On a month-to-month basis, domestic wholesale prices in December remained unchanged from November, but were down 2.2 percent compared to the same month of 1997.

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