Business / Economy

Japan's wholesale prices up for second straight year in fiscal 2018

Kyodo

Japan’s wholesale prices rose 2.2 percent in the just-ended fiscal year, gaining for the second straight year on the back of crude price markups in the first half of the fiscal year, the Bank of Japan said Wednesday.

The size of the increase in the central bank’s Corporate Goods Price Index — a gauge of prices of goods traded between companies — for fiscal 2018 compares with 2.7 percent growth in the previous fiscal year.

Oil and coal products saw their prices jump 13.8 percent, followed by a 7.2 percent gain in the prices for electric power, gas and water, and a 5.7 percent increase in scrap and waste prices. Those for information and communications equipment declined 1.3 percent.

Prices for oil and coal products are one of the major factors affecting wholesale prices in Japan, which imports most of the crude oil consumed in the country.

Export prices grew 0.8 percent while import prices advanced 6.5 percent, both in yen terms.

In March alone, wholesale prices climbed 1.3 percent from a year earlier, increasing for the 27th straight month, following a revised 0.9 percent rise in February.

By item, prices for pulp and paper products rose 5.2 percent due to solid demand for cardboard boxes to send purchased goods to consumers amid a growth in e-commerce. Prices for ceramic products gained 3.2 percent while oil and coal product prices rose 2.9 percent.

Oil-related prices in Japan rose as expectations for a trade deal between Washington and Beijing to end their tariff spat pushed up crude oil prices, according to a BOJ official.

Prices for nonferrous metals decreased 2.3 percent from a year earlier but gained 1.4 percent from the previous month, on hopes for an economic recovery in China supported by Beijing’s massive economic stimulus to support the world’s second-largest economy, the official said.

In yen terms, export prices rose 0.2 percent from a year before, while import prices climbed 2.5 percent.