• Kyodo

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Wholesale prices in the nation rose 1.0% from a year earlier in March to show the first increase in 13 months, reflecting higher crude oil prices and a global economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, the Bank of Japan said Monday.

The prices of goods traded between companies last showed an on-year rise in February 2020, but remained below the central bank’s 2% inflation target. The latest increase followed a 0.6% decline in February.

By item, prices for oil and coal products gained 9.8% following a revised 6.0% fall in the previous month. Nonferrous metal prices jumped 28.7% due to strong demand in China, the central bank said. Prices for scrap metal surged 63.9%, pushed up by robust demand from overseas.

“A pickup in prices has been driven by recoveries in the U.S. and Chinese economies, but demand in Japan remains weak,” said a BOJ official.

The rise in prices in March also reflected a plunge in crude oil prices a year earlier and the economic downturn around the world in the early stages of the pandemic.

“It is too early to say demand in Japan has returned to the level before the outset of the pandemic,” the BOJ official added.

Electricity, gas and water bills fell 10.2%. Import prices rose 5.6% from a year earlier while export prices climbed 5.5%, both in yen terms.

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