• Kyodo

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Japan’s wholesale prices fell for the 18th straight month in September, down 3.2 percent from a year earlier, with a downturn in global oil prices and the yen’s appreciation pushing down import prices, Bank of Japan data showed Friday.

The latest data highlighted that the BOJ is still far from achieving its 2 percent inflation goal despite its aggressive monetary easing and a negative interest rate policy. Wholesale prices tend to affect consumer prices.

The index of corporate goods prices stood at 98.8 against the 2010 base of 100, the central bank said in a preliminary report.

Prices of petroleum and coal dropped 13.3 percent and those of nonferrous metals slid 12.4 percent. Prices of chemical products were down 7.4 percent.

A BOJ official said moves in currency and commodity markets need to be closely watched for their impact on wholesale prices. Japan depends on imports for over 90 percent of its energy needs.

Among gainers, prices of business-oriented machinery rose 1.9 percent and those of lumber and wood products were up 0.6 percent.

Export prices slumped 11.8 percent and import prices tumbled 17.7 percent, both in yen terms.

At the latest Policy Board meeting through Sept. 21, the central bank conducted a “comprehensive assessment” of the monetary policies it had undertaken since BOJ Gov. Haruhiko Kuroda took office in March 2013.

The BOJ concluded that a plunge in global oil prices, sluggish growth in domestic demand in the wake of a consumption tax hike in 2014, and financial market instability had thwarted its efforts to attain the inflation goal for over three years.

Japan’s consumer prices fell for the sixth straight month in August, down 0.5 percent from a year earlier, according to government data released late last month.

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