TOKYO – Japan’s wholesale inflation in December is expected to remain near a recent peak as companies hike prices to offset rising raw material costs, a Reuters poll showed on Friday.
The corporate goods price index (CGPI), a gauge of the prices companies charge each other for their goods, in December likely rose 8.8% from a year earlier, the poll of 17 economists showed.
That would follow a record 9.0% year-on-year gain in November, the fastest pace since comparable data became available in 1981.
Month-on-month, the wholesale price index is expected to have increased 0.3% in December, slightly slowing from 0.6% growth in the prior month, the poll showed.
“Import (cost) inflation apparently took a break, as the forex rate in December showed a slightly stronger yen compared to November, and the rise in oil prices halted,” said Takeshi Minami, chief economist at Norinchukin Research Institute.
“Nevertheless, domestically, the trend of passing higher costs to final goods prices has been going on.”
The combination of a weak yen and global commodity inflation has gradually pushed up Japan’s consumer prices as well, but at a more moderate pace than wholesale inflation. The core consumer price index, the Bank of Japan’s (BOJ) benchmark reading, rose 0.5% year-on-year in November, marking a near 2-year-high.
The central bank, however, made no changes to its ultra-easy policies at its December rate review except for a partial scale-down of the pandemic funding programme, as inflation remains below its 2% target.
The BOJ is due to release the CGPI data on Jan. 14 at 8:50 a.m. (Jan. 13, 2350 GMT).
Other data due next week is expected to show Japan’s current account posting a 585 billion yen ($5.05 billion) surplus in November, shrinking from a 1.18 trillion yen surplus in the previous month, as record-size imports due to soaring fuel prices swelled the trade deficit.
The government will release the current account balance on Jan. 12 at 8:50 a.m. (Jan. 11, 2350 GMT).
($1 = 115.8800 yen)
(Reporting by Kantaro Komiya; Editing by Jacqueline Wong)