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Japan Inflation Above Expectations

Japan Inflation Above Expectations. Japan’s core inflation slows for the third month in a row. However, the January 2024 figure exceeded estimates and was within the central bank’s target of 2%, keeping expectations of negative interest rates ending in April 2024 in check.

Based on data from the Japanese Ministry of Home Affairs and Communications on Tuesday (27/2/2024), the Consumer Price Index (CPI) in January 2024 was reported to have increased by 2% on an annual basis.

This monthly inflation figure was slower than December 2023 which was 2.3% and beat the average market estimate of an increase of 1.8%. Meanwhile, the core CPI also rose 3.5% on an annual basis in January 2023, following an increase of 3.7% in December 2023.

The slowdown in core CPI, which includes oil products but excludes fresh food prices, was largely due to a significant decline in energy costs, due to the base impact of last year’s sharp rise and government subsidies, which limited petrol and utility bills.

Japan Inflation Above Expectations, The report then emphasizes the view that reduced inflation caused by commodity imports could ease the burden of higher living costs.

The news reinforces expectations that major companies will offer big pay increases at labor wage talks (Shunto) on March 13, 2024. The move would pave the way for the BOJ to end negative interest rates in March or April 2024.

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