Japan’s Consumer Prices Unchanged as Abe Calls for More Easing

Japan’s Consumer Prices Unchanged as Abe Calls for More Easing
Customers browse inside Fast Retailing Co.'s g.u. store in the Ginza district of Tokyo, Japan. Photographer: Tomohiro Ohsumi/Bloomberg

Japan’s consumer prices were unchanged in October after five months of declines, limiting the case for more monetary easing being made by Shinzo Abe, the front-runner to become the nation’s next prime minister.

Consumer prices excluding fresh food didn’t change from a year earlier, the statistics bureau said in Tokyo today. The median of 23 estimates was for a 0.1 percent drop. The nation’s jobless rate stayed at 4.2 percent for a third month, according to a separate report.

Today’s data show the Bank of Japan’s 1 percent inflation goal remains distant, and will keep pressure on Governor Masaaki Shirakawa to add stimulus at next month’s policy meeting. Abe, head of the Liberal Democratic Party that polls suggest will win the election, called again yesterday for unlimited easing and a price-gains target of 2 percent.

“It’s hard to imagine consumer prices will rise steadily when the economy is at risk of falling into a recession,” said Yoshimasa Maruyama, chief economist at Itochu Corp. in Tokyo. “The BOJ will come under pressure to ease more.”

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