Japan’s Inflation Accelerates

Japan’s inflation accelerated in December, industrial output gained and a measure of demand for workers strengthened, signaling gains for Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s campaign to end two decades of stagnation.

Prices excluding fresh food increased 1.3 percent from a year earlier, the statistics bureau said today in Tokyo, above a median estimate of 1.2 percent in a Bloomberg survey of 32 economists. Industrial production rose 1.1 percent from the previous month, while the number of jobs for every seeker rose to 1.03, exceeding 1 for the first the time since October 2007.

The economy’s next tests are spring wage negotiations among major employers and workers, and an April sales-tax increase that threatens to hurt consumer spending. Without pay gains that compensate for inflation — so far driven by higher energy bills due to a weaker yen and Japan’s nuclear shutdown — households face falling purchasing power.

Bloomberg

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