Japan Consumer Prices Rise as BOJ Considers Stimulus Move

Japan’s consumer prices rose in March, according to a report released as the central bank decides today on monetary policy.

Prices excluding fresh food increased 0.2 percent from a year earlier, the statistics bureau said today in Tokyo. The median estimate in a Bloomberg News survey of 31 economists was for a 0.1 percent gain.

The Bank of Japan’s inflation forecast, also due today, may show the 1 percent goal adopted in February remains elusive. Economists unanimously forecast the bank will add to stimulus as lawmakers press for aggressive steps to spur growth and shake off more than a decade of deflation.

“Additional easing at today’s meeting is almost a done deal,” Yoshimasa Maruyama, chief economist at Itochu Corp. (8001) in Tokyo, said before the report.

Shirakawa aims to contain expectations for monetary action in the face of pressure from lawmakers in the ruling Democratic Party of Japan and opposition Liberal Democratic Party. In a speech in the U.S. earlier this month, he said that central banks “cannot reasonably deliver solutions to structural issues” and the key challenge for Japan is rapidly changing demographics.

“Considering that the Japanese financial conditions are probably the most expansionary among developed economies, the failure of Japan to shake off modest deflation can mostly be explained by its deteriorating growth potential,” the central banker said.

Photographer: Kiyoshi Ota/Bloomberg

Customers browse clothes at an American Eagle Outfitters Inc. store in Tokyo. Prices excluding fresh food increased 0.2 percent from a year earlier, the statistics bureau said today in Tokyo. Close

Customers browse clothes at an American Eagle Outfitters Inc. store in Tokyo. ... Read More

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Photographer: Kiyoshi Ota/Bloomberg

Customers browse clothes at an American Eagle Outfitters Inc. store in Tokyo. Prices excluding fresh food increased 0.2 percent from a year earlier, the statistics bureau said today in Tokyo.

To contact the reporters on this story: Keiko Ujikane in Tokyo at kujikane@bloomberg.net; Andy Sharp in Tokyo at asharp5@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Stephanie Phang at sphang@bloomberg.net

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