Japan inflation edges up in Nov, but spending, wages fall

AP News
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Posted: Dec 24, 2015 8:58 PM
Japan inflation edges up in Nov, but spending, wages fall

TOKYO (AP) — Japan's inflation rate rose slightly in November, though lower household spending and incomes slowed progress toward a sustained recovery for the world's third-largest economy.

The consumer price index was up 0.3 percent from a year earlier, though down 0.3 percent from October, the government reported Friday.

The government has made scant progress toward its goal of a 2 percent inflation rate it has said is needed to ensure a "virtuous cycle" of rising demand and rising production, partly due to the sharp drop in global crude oil prices.

Figures released Friday showed that core inflation excluding food prices was 0.1 percent, while household spending in November fell 2.9 percent from a year earlier. Excluding food and energy, the consumer price index rose 0.9 percent.

Incomes fell 1.4 percent from the year before, suggesting companies are not heeding appeals by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and other leaders to raise wages and increase investment inside Japan.

Japanese companies have tended instead to invest their surging profits, thanks to massive monetary stimulus, in faster growing markets overseas.

Friday's data also showed that Japan's jobless rate edged higher in November, to 3.3 percent from 3.1 percent in October. But companies have tended to add overtime or hire temporary help instead of raising wages to attract new staff.