Prices of food dropped by 1.5 percent year-on-year in January, after a 1.1 percent fall in December and marking the second straight month of declines. Among food, cost fell further for vegetables & seaweeds (-14.4 percent vs -12.7 percent), of which fresh vegetables (-21.2 percent vs -19.7 percent); fruits (-2.7 percent vs -0.3 percent), of which fresh fruits (-3.3 percent vs -0.7 percent); and oils, fats & seasonings (-0.6 percent vs -0.3 percent). In addition, prices slowed for cereals (0.7 percent vs 1.0 percent); and fish & seafood rose 1.5 percent (vs 1.8 percent), of which fresh fish & seafood (0.5 percent vs 0.6 percent), while was steady for cooked food (at 0.1 percent). Meantime, prices rose faster for: dairy products & eggs (2.8 percent vs 2.6 percent), meals outside the home (1.1 percent vs 1.0 percent) and meat (0.3 percent vs 0.1 percent).
Also, cost fell for furniture and household utensils (-0.1 percent vs 0.1 percent) and continued to decrease for housing (-0.1 percent, the same as in December). At the same time, cost of transportation & communication declined for the second consecutive month (-0.2 percent vs -0.1 percent). In contrast, inflation was steady for medical care (at 1.3 percent); and education (at 0.5 percent). Additionally, cost increased faster for culture & recreation (1.5 percent vs 0.9 percent); fuel, light & water charges (5.2 percent vs 5.0 percent), of which electricity (7.2 percent vs 6.4 percent) and gas (5.6 percent vs 4.8 percent); miscellaneous goods & services (0.9 percent vs 0.8 percent) and clothes & footwear (0.2 percent vs 0.1 percent).
Annual core consumer inflation, which excludes fresh food, went up to 0.8 percent in January from a seven-month low of 0.7 percent in December and matching market consensus. The figure came in well below the Bank of Japan's target of 2 percent.
On a monthly basis, consumer prices rose by 0.3 percent in January, following a 0.2 percent drop in December and reaching the first monthly increase in three months.