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Repeats Story Initially Transmitted at 00:30 GMT Aug 25/20:30 EST Aug 24
--Japan July Core CPI +0.5% Y/Y; MNI Median +0.5%; June +0.4% 
--Tokyo Aug Core CPI +0.4% Y/Y; MNI Median +0.3%; July +0.2%
     TOKYO (MNI) - Japan's consumer price index from the Ministry of Internal
Affairs and Communications released Friday. CPI figures date to 1970 under the
2015 base year.
     * Japan's national average core CPI (excluding fresh food but including
energy prices) rose 0.5% on year in July, as expected, marking the seventh
straight year-on-year rise after +0.4% in June. The indicator of inflation
posted the first rise in 13 months in January.
     * It is a slow step forward toward the Bank of Japan's 2% inflation target
but the biggest rise since December 2014, when the index rose 2.5% on year, or
0.5% excluding the direct impact of the sales tax hike in April 2014.
     * The increase in July was led by higher electricity and gas charges in
addition to gasoline prices. Prices for household durable goods and overseas
holiday tours were unchanged on year, picking up from recent drops. Judging from
the seasonally adjusted level of the core CPI at 100.1 in July, the index is
likely to continue edging up from year-earlier levels in coming months due to
favorable base effects, given the level ranged lower from 99.5 to 99.8 between
August and December 2016.
     * Year-on-year gains in overall energy costs, with the increase in gasoline
prices accelerating slightly, are expected to support a gradual rise in consumer
prices.  But firms remain cautious about raising retail prices for fear of
losing market share or denting private consumption. Some retailers are giving
discounts on a wide range of goods in tough competition.
     * Excluding the upward pressure from energy prices, the underlying price
trend has shown a slow improvement. The CPI excluding fresh food and energy (the
core-core CPI) rose 0.1% on year in July, after being flat in the previous three
months and falling 0.1% in March.
     * In July, the year-on-year increase in gasoline prices accelerated to
+6.3% from +6.1% in June and electricity charges posted a 6.1% rise after rising
4.9% in the previous month. Overall energy costs rose 5.8% on year in July after
rising 4.9% in June.
     * The total CPI also gained 0.4% on year, posting the 10th straight
year-on-year rise after +0.4% in June. The increase was led by the same factors
as seen in the previous month: markups for marine products and beer as well as
continued gains in energy costs.
     * The central Tokyo core CPI rose 0.4% on year in August, slightly firmer
than the MNI economist median forecast for +0.3%. It was the second consecutive
year-on-year rise after +0.2% in July. The increase was led by higher prices for
utilities and gasoline.
     * In national CPI data, goods prices excluding fresh food rose 1.1% on year
in July following +1.0% in June. Overall goods prices rose 1.0% on year after
rising 0.9% in the previous month.
     * But service costs, which account for a little over half of the CPI
basket, fell 0.1% on year in July after falling 0.1% in June, hit by what the
BOJ sees as a temporary drop in mobile communications charges. The drop in
communications fees slowed from the previous month. Continued labor shortages in
some sectors are supporting prices for restaurants, housekeeping and medical
services while rents and imputed rents remain depressed.
     * July total energy costs +5.8% on year; June +4.9%
     * July total CPI foodstuffs excluding fresh food +0.9%; June +0.9%
     * July total CPI household durable goods unchanged; June -1.0%
     * July total CPI consumer electronics -4.0%; June -3.7%
--MNI Tokyo Bureau; tel: +81 90-2175-0040; email:
--MNI Tokyo Bureau; tel: +81 90-4670-5309; email:
--MNI BEIJING Bureau; +1 202-371-2121; email: