• Kyodo

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Key consumer prices fell 0.3 percent in August to mark their fourth consecutive month of decline as prices fell for gasoline and appliances compared with a year ago, the government said Friday.

The core consumer price index, which excludes fresh food, stood at 99.6 against the 2010 base of 100, the Internal Affairs and Communications Ministry said.

By product, gas prices fell 6.0 percent, reflecting a fall in crude oil. Prices of overseas tours also dropped as fuel surcharges fell, a ministry official said.

But energy prices as a whole rose 0.9 percent from a year earlier, reflecting rises in electricity prices, the ministry said.

“The trend has not changed much except for changes in energy-related prices,” it said.

Prices of household durable goods, such as refrigerators, sank 9.0 percent. TV prices fell 7.1 percent amid a trend of weakening demand after a surge in the leadup to the July 2011 shift to terrestrial digital broadcasting.

The decline in the core consumer price index, which was almost in line with market expectations, showed Japan remains in a mild deflationary phase.

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