Shares in Japanese beermaker Asahi jump after it announces price hikes

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FILE PHOTO: Asahi Super Dry beer cans are displayed at the Asahi Group Holdings headquarters in Tokyo

TOKYO -Shares in Asahi Group Holdings surged on Wednesday after the Japanese beermaker announced its first price increases for canned beer in 14 years and a range of other price hikes to cope with rising costs.

Retail prices on 162 items, mostly beer products, will rise between 6% and 10% from Oct. 1, reflecting increasing costs for materials, energy and transportation, it said on Tuesday after the market closed.

After decades of deflation in Japan, consumer price pressures have mounted as the cost of fuel and other commodities soar in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and due to logistical snags caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Asahi’s stock climbed 4.3%, outperforming a 1.2% drop in the benchmark Nikkei index.

Rivals Kirin Holdings Co and Sapporo Holdings Ltd said on Wednesday they are also considering price increases but have not made a decision yet.

A Suntory Holdings Ltd spokesperson said the company had no comment, noting the company’s last price changes for its beer and wine products were in October 2020.

Asahi is Japan’s biggest beer maker, commanding nearly 40% of the market.

(Reporting by Rocky Swift and Ritsuko Shimizu; Editing by Edwina Gibbs)