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The percentage of people that feel prices are more expensive now than a year ago is at a six-year high, a quarterly survey by the Bank of Japan suggested Tuesday.

In the December survey, 77.4% of respondents said prices had risen. The figure climbed from 61.5% in the previous survey to hit its highest level since December 2015, when it stood at 78.8%.

The central bank attributed the latest result mainly to higher gasoline prices, while citing the 2014 consumption tax hike as a factor behind the December 2015 result.

The latest survey was conducted between Nov. 5 and Dec. 1, collecting valid responses from 2,216 people age 20 or above across the country.

Asked how much prices had changed year on year, respondents suggested a rise of 6.3% on average — the sharpest increase seen since 6.4% in the March 2009 survey.

Meanwhile, 50.7% of those polled said future price movements will be a major factor in deciding their spending over the next year, up from 38.8% in the previous survey.

The diffusion index for household circumstances fell 4.7 points to minus 34.2, apparently reflecting a rise in household burdens due to rising prices.

The index represents the proportion of respondents who said their household circumstances “have become better off” minus the proportion of those who said that they “have become worse off.”

The latest survey is not believed to have fully reflected the impact of the spread of the omicron variant of the coronavirus.

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