Japan’s inflation accelerated to the fastest pace since 2008 last month, bringing the rate closer to policy makers’ target while threatening to erode household spending power unless employers boost wages.
Prices excluding fresh food rose 1.2 percent from a year earlier, the statistics bureau said today in Tokyo, more than a median forecast of 1.1 percent in a Bloomberg News survey of economists. A separate report showed industrial output rose 0.1 percent from October, less than forecast, in a risk for projections of an acceleration in economic growth this quarter.
Today’s data raise the stakes for employers girding for annual wage negotiations, with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe calling on them to boost salaries by more than the increase in the cost of living. Separate figures showed signs of a pickup in the labor market, with the ratio of employment offers to job seekers reaching the highest since 2007.
Japan is now past the halfway point to the central bank’s 2 percent inflation target, as a weaker yen and higher costs of energy spur broader price increases. The government dropped a reference to deflation in a monthly economic report this week for the first time in four years
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