Japan logs ninth monthly price fall in November

By AFP   December 26, 2016 | 05:23 pm PT
Core consumer prices declined 0.4 percent on-year.

Japan's consumer prices fell for the ninth straight month in November, official data showed Tuesday, as the nation struggles to shake off deflation that has plagued its economy.

Core consumer prices declined 0.4 percent on-year, the internal affairs ministry said. There was a forecast of a 0.3 percent fall.

The data was a further blow to efforts from the government and the Bank of Japan to pump up the world's number three economy with massive public spending and aggressive monetary easing.

Tokyo officials have blamed external factors, such as falling energy prices and uncertainty related to emerging economies, for their failure to achieve a promised 2 percent inflation target.

Last month, the central bank said it expected to hit 2 percent inflation by March 2019, four years later than its original target and the latest in a string of delays.

The internal affairs ministry also said the nation's household spending fell for the ninth consecutive month, falling 1.5 percent in November from a year ago.

The nation's unemployment rate edged up to 3.1 percent in November from the 3.0 percent registered in October, the ministry said.

For more than three years, BoJ policymakers have embarked on a bond-buying stimulus program to try to keep interest rates low and increase borrowing and spending.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe came to office in late 2012 and launched a growth plan -- a mix of massive monetary easing, government spending and red-tape slashing.

But economists are increasingly writing off the "Abenomics" spend-for-growth policy.

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