TOKYO: The core consumer price index for Tokyo’s densely populated 23 wards in April rose 1.9 percent from a year earlier, marking the steepest growth since the 2.2 percent rise in March 2015, government data showed Friday.
The jump came as the effect from the introduction in March last year of discount fee plans by major mobile phone carriers weakened after pushing down the index until March this year.
The core CPI, which excludes often volatile fresh food prices, stood at 101.3 against 100 for the base year of 2020, the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications said.
The pace of increase accelerated from a 0.8 percent rise in the previous month, with the index rising for the eighth straight month. Month on month, the index was up 0.5 percent.
The April result compared with the median forecast of a 1.8 percent increase among 17 economic research institutes surveyed by Jiji Press.
The index was also pushed up by a surge in crude oil prices and the yen’s weakening, nearing the 2 percent inflation target set by the Bank of Japan.
But there are fears of a prolonged period of “bad price increases,” which are said to boost the burden on households in the absence of wage growth, analysts said.
In April, energy prices soared 24.6 percent from a year before. City gas rates jumped 27.6 percent, electricity fees climbed 25.8 percent and gasoline prices went up 14.3 percent.
Prices of food excluding perishables rose 2.3 percent, reflecting higher production costs. The pace of fall in mobile communications fees slowed to 22.5 percent from 52.7 percent in the previous month.
As Tokyo’s CPI is considered a leading indicator for nationwide price trends, the country’s CPI for April, to be released on May 20, is expected to show a sharp increase as well.