Japan’s core consumer inflation hit a fresh four-decade high as companies continued to pass on rising costs to households, data showed, a sign price hikes were broadening and could keep the central bank under pressure to whittle down massive stimulus.
Months before Tuesday’s surprise tweak to its yield control policy, Bank of Japan (BOJ) policymakers had discussed the potential market impact of a future exit from ultra-low interest rates, minutes of their October meeting showed on Friday.
While many retailers plan further hikes for food products next year, the outlook for inflation and the timing of any further BOJ policy tweaks are muddled by the risk of global recession and uncertainty over the pace of wage hikes, analysts say.
“The hurdle for policy normalisation isn’t low. The global economy may worsen in the first half of next year, making it hard for the BOJ to take steps that can be interpreted as monetary tightening,” said Takeshi Minami, chief economist at Norinchukin Research Institute.
Japan’s core consumer price index (CPI), which excludes volatile fresh food but includes energy costs, rose 3.7% in November from a year earlier, data showed on Friday, matching market forecasts and perking up from a 3.6% gain in October.