Key consumer prices in Tokyo fell 1.1 percent in May from a year earlier for a record 32nd straight month of decline, the government said Friday in a preliminary report.

The core consumer price index for Tokyo’s 23 wards — a leading index of nationwide price moves — came to 98 against the base of 100 set in 2000, the Public Management, Home Affairs, Posts and Telecommunications Ministry said.

The margin of price fall, excluding volatile prices of perishable foods, equaled that in April but was larger than the 0.7 percent shrinkage registered in March.

“The base trend of deflation is very severe. We need to carry out economic revitalization steps properly,” said Heizo Takenaka, minister in charge of economic and fiscal policy.

The Tokyo CPI, including perishables, decreased 1.2 percent from a year earlier to 98.1, down for a record 33rd month of decline, the ministry said.

Prices of fresh foods fell 2.1 percent from a year earlier, while utility and sewage charges dropped 2.9 percent, partly due to Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s move to reduce electricity fees.

Prices of laptop computers fell 23.2 percent, while those of desktops dropped 27 percent.

Prices of furniture and household goods dropped 4.7 percent and those of entertainment and cultural goods and services fell 2.9 percent.

Meanwhile, the nationwide CPI excluding perishables fell 0.9 percent in April from a year earlier to 98.5, marking the 31st consecutive month of decline.

The nationwide CPI including perishables was down 1.1 percent to 98.4, down for the 32nd straight month.

Household outlays up

Spending by wage-earning households rose an inflation-adjusted 0.9 percent in April from a year earlier, up for the first time in three months, the government said Friday.

Average monthly spending by wage-earning households came to 346,653 yen, the Public Management, Home Affairs, Posts and Telecommunications Ministry said in a monthly report.

Spending fell 1.2 percent in March and 2.9 percent in February.

Household spending has recently been showing an up-and-down pattern, and the rise in April is not a sign of any improvement, a ministry official said.

“It is still a trend of one step forward and one step back. While the spending was up 0.9 percent on an inflation-adjusted basis, it was down 0.4 percent on a nominal basis,” said Masato Aida, director of the ministry’s consumer statistics division.

Aida attributed the rise mainly to the warm weather, which has led to more outlays in food and drinks, the biggest spending category for households.

“When the weather is warm, spending on food and drinks goes up, apparently because people go out more and buy products like Japanese tea,” he said.

The average monthly income of salaried households fell 1.3 percent in real terms to 485,954 yen, down for the first time in four months.

Disposable income decreased a real 3.1 percent to 394,158 yen.

Household spending accounts for about 60 percent of Japan’s gross domestic product, and wage-earning households’ outlays make up 60 percent of total household spending.

Food expenditures grew 1.8 percent to 70,505 yen, up for the fifth month in a row, due to increased spending on drinks, snacks and cooked foods.

Outlays on housing rose 6.7 percent to 22,235 yen, up for the first time in six months, on increased spending on repairs and maintenance.

Spending on furniture and household goods rose 10.5 percent to 9,811 yen, up for the first time in two months, on increased expenditures on durable goods such as air conditioners.

Spending on education grew 11.6 percent to 29,400 yen amid a rise in tuition fees, up for the first time in six months.

In contrast, spending fell 3.2 percent in the communication and transport category to 44,677 yen, down for the third straight month, amid lower automobile-related costs.

Outlays on culture and entertainment slipped 1 percent to 34,328 yen, for the second month of decline.

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