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TOKYO (MNI) - The Japanese government left its overall economic assessment
unchanged in April, saying for the fourth straight month that the Japanese
economy is recovering at a "moderate pace," the Cabinet Office said Monday.
The government also maintained its views on key components of the economy:
private consumption and exports are "picking up" while business investment and
factory output are "increasing moderately."
On inflation, the government said that consumer prices "have risen
moderately in recent months," repeating its previous assessment.
In March, the government revised up its view on inflation for the first
time in nearly three years.
The latest data show Japan's core consumer price index (excluding fresh
food) rose 1.0% year-on-year in February, accelerating from a gain of 0.9% in
The annual core inflation rate was positive for the 14th straight month in
Japan's inflation has been slow to respond to the country's sustained
economic recovery and the increasing tightness of labor market conditions.
Core CPI is still far from the Bank of Japan's 2% price stability target.
Japanese policymakers are focused on how wage hikes resulting from the
rising labor shortage affect private consumption and boost consumer prices in
the coming months.
Wages on average rose 2.13% year-on-year as of April 6, up from 2.05% last
year, data released by the Japanese Trade Union Confederation (Rengo) show.
The Cabinet Office's Private Consumption Integrated Estimates Index, which
is based on both supply- and demand-side data, rose 0.5% on the month in
February, improving from -0.2% in January and -1.0% in December.
Looking ahead, the government maintained its outlook that the economy will
continue "recovering," supported by an improvement in labor and income
conditions and the effects of fiscal spending.
It also repeated the risks to its outlook, citing uncertainty in overseas
economies and the effects of fluctuations in financial and capital markets.
--MNI Tokyo Bureau; tel: +81 90-2175-0040; email: email@example.com