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     TOKYO (MNI) - The annual consumer inflation rate in Tokyo, a leading
indicator of the national average, accelerated in August from July as the
base-year effect of sharp discounts by a major telecom carrier had waned and a
severe heat wave boosted meat prices, data from the Ministry of Internal Affairs
and Communications released Friday showed.
     The key points from the latest Tokyo CPI data:
     * The Tokyo core consumer price index (excluding fresh food) rose 0.9% on
year in August, coming in slightly firmer than the MNI median economist forecast
for +0.8%. It was the 14th straight y/y rise and the pace of increase
accelerated to a six-month high, up from +0.8% in July. This indicates the
year-over-year rise in the national CPI may also rise in August from the 0.8%
increase in July in data due on Sept. 21.
     * In the capital, processed food prices rose 1.0% on year in August after
+0.8% in July, pushing up the total CPI by 0.22 percentage point. The
contribution from this item was 0.05 point higher in August than in July. "Pork
prices shot up after a continuous heat wave threatened supply. Beef prices have
been also rising due to the labor shortage in aging farming communities," a
ministry official said.
     * The year-on-year drop in mobile communications charges decelerated to
-3.7% in August from -6.7% in July. It still had a negative 0.06 percentage
point contribution to the total CPI in August but the negative contribution was
0.06 point smaller than in July.
     * The August core CPI was also supported by a one-off technical factor.
Accommodations costs jumped 10.2% in August after rising 1.9% in July because
the survey was conducted during the mid-summer Obon holiday season when leisure
prices rise sharply.
     * The core-core CPI (excluding fresh food and energy) -- a key indicator of
the underlying trend of inflation -- rose 0.6% on year in August in Tokyo, also
accelerating from +0.5% in July.
--MNI Tokyo Bureau; tel: +81 90-4670-5309; email: max.sato@marketnews.com

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