• Kyodo

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Wholesale prices rose 3.9 percent in August from a year earlier for the 17th straight monthly increase amid higher energy and raw material costs, the Bank of Japan said Wednesday.

The result almost matched forecasts by private economists. The pace of rise was slower than the 4.3 percent in July and a downwardly revised 4.5 percent in June, although the bank says an upward trend remains.

The index of corporate goods prices stood at 106.4 against the 2010 base of 100, the BOJ said in a preliminary report.

After stripping out the impact of the consumption tax hike in April, the gauge grew 1.1 percent to 103.5, below a downwardly revised 1.4 percent rise in July.

On a month-on-month basis, prices fell 0.2 percent from July, the first decline in six months and slightly weaker than market forecasts.

Higher raw material costs have continued to be passed on to wholesale prices, a BOJ official said at a press briefing while underscoring that Gov. Haruki Kuroda’s bank “will closely watch the growing tendency of the yen’s slide,” which makes imported products expensive.

Petroleum and coal product prices rose 8.4 percent year on year amid higher crude oil prices.

Iron and steel products also generated upward momentum largely due to firm demand for construction materials.

Import prices rose 4.5 percent and those for exports grew 2.7 percent, both in yen terms.

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