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Investing.com– Consumer inflation in Japan’s capital grew more than expected in July, likely heralding a similar trend from nationwide inflation and putting more pressure on the Bank of Japan to eventually begin tightening policy.

(CPI) inflation, which ignores volatile fresh food prices, rose 3% in July, slightly ahead of forecasts of 2.9%, data from the Statistics Bureau showed on Friday. The reading was lower than the prior month’s figure of 3.2%, but remained well above the BOJ’s 2% target range.

Overall grew 3.2%, well above expectations of 2.8% and accelerating from the 3.1% seen in June. Inflation also grew 0.4% in July from the prior month.

Another core indicator, which ignores volatile fresh food and energy prices, rose to an over 40-year high of 4% in July, indicating that underlying Japanese inflation remained largely sticky. 

Gains in food, housing and medical costs were the biggest contributors to the sticky inflation reading, largely offsetting easing fuel and electricity costs. 

The readings show that Japanese inflation is picking up again after somewhat retreating in the first half of 2023, and that the BOJ is likely to face increasing pressure to tighten policy in the coming months.

While government efforts to control inflation- mainly electricity subsidies- helped somewhat in easing price pressures earlier this year, inflation remained sticky, and now appears to be picking up again. 

The data also comes just before a later in the day, where a majority of analysts expect the central bank to keep rates and its yield curve control (YCC) policy steady.

But a small group of investment banks warned that the BOJ could offer up some hawkish signals on Friday by potentially widening its YCC policy. Economists also recently warned the bank that it will have to consider tightening policy soon, given the sticky inflation and relatively weak wage growth. 

Still, the BOJ has given no indication that it intends to begin tightening policy in the near-term. 


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