The domestic corporate goods price index stood at 95.8 on a yearly average for 2002 against a base of 100 for 2000, down 1.9 percent from 2001 for the second consecutive yearly decline, the Bank of Japan said Friday.

In an effort to more accurately reflect price swings, the central bank released the CGPI to replace the wholesale prices index. It is the first time the BOJ has replaced the index in 20 years.

The new index showed a larger year-on-year decline than the WPI, which reflects the ongoing deflationary pressure on the Japanese economy, the BOJ said.

For example, compared to the previous year, WPI data showed that prices fell 0.3 percent in November 2002, but the CGPI indicated a 1.2 percent decline in the same month.

In the new index, the base year has been changed from 1995, used for the WPI, to 2000. In addition to the change of the base year, the new index uses a wider range of data.

Semiconductor-making gear and computers were added to the list of goods covered by the price survey, while word processors and some other products were removed.

Weightings of electric and transport machinery increased following the changeover, while those of textile and steel products dropped.

The CGPI registered a 2.3 percent decline for 2001 from the year before, the BOJ said in a preliminary report.

Prices fell most notably in the electrical machinery and equipment sector, which showed a 7.8 percent drop, due to weak demand for computers, indicating continuing downward pressure on the information technology sector, the BOJ said.

Prices declined by 1.8 percent in the transportation equipment sector, reflecting price-cutting competition by automakers, the central bank said.

But prices rose 5 percent in the petroleum and coal products sector, reflecting rises in crude oil prices on the back of heightened tension in the Middle East.

The CGPI for December came to 95.2, down 1.2 percent from a year earlier and down 0.1 percent from November.

The export price index for 2002 came to 102 in yen terms, down 1.1 percent from the previous year, and 91.7 in terms of contract currencies, down 3.8 percent.

The import price index registered 101 in yen terms, down 1.5 percent from 2001, and 89.7 in terms of contract currencies, down 4.2 percent.

For December, the export price index registered 100.2 in yen terms, down 2.9 percent from a year earlier, and 90.8 in terms of contract currencies, down 1.7 percent.

The import price index came to 100.9 in yen terms, up 1.1 percent, and 90.8 in terms of contract currencies, up 3.3 percent, the central bank said.

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