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Economy

Japan September inflation slows to 29-month low on falling oil prices

TOKYO (Kyodo) -- Japan's core consumer prices rose 0.3 percent in September from a year earlier, with the pace of growth slowing to a 29-month low due to falls in crude oil prices, government data showed Friday.

The nationwide core consumer price index, excluding volatile fresh food prices, increased for the 33rd straight month following a 0.5 percent rise in August, but the September CPI growth was the weakest since April 2017, the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications said.

In September, gasoline prices dropped 6.9 percent from a year earlier, while kerosene prices lost 2.6 percent and city gas prices dipped 0.3 percent.

"The inflation has been weakening due to lower oil prices, but the moderate rising trend in prices has been maintained," said a ministry official.

Lower crude oil prices, the main factor pushing down consumer prices, reflect sluggish demand due to the slowing global economy and the ministry will closely watch developments, the official said.

The country's inflation has remained far below the Bank of Japan's 2 percent price stability target. BOJ Governor Haruhiko Kuroda has reiterated that the central bank will take additional easing measures without hesitation if the momentum for the inflation target is lost.

The next BOJ policy-setting meeting is slated for Oct. 30-31.

In the reporting month, mobile phone fees slipped 5.2 percent as major wireless carriers lowered charges under pressure from the government, which claimed the fees remained too high compared with other countries.

Prices for overseas package tours fell 2.8 percent, reflecting relatively high prices a year earlier, the official said.

Vacuum cleaner prices surged 33.3 percent as electric appliance makers started selling their latest models in September, while ice cream prices rose 7.6 percent due to higher raw material and personnel costs.

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