TOKYO - Japanese consumer prices rose last month, showing that the country's economy continues to recover.
Government data released Friday showed
that consumer prices excluding food rose 1.2 percent in November compared to
the same month last year. It is the largest gain since November 2008.
Industrial output increased 0.1
percent, the third straight month of a rise.
The unemployment rate stayed at 4.0 percent, while jobs available rose but by less than the month before.
Economists say the Bank of Japan's
monetary policy of depreciating the yen and increasing the money supply
combined with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's economic strategy such as spending on
public works projects has been helping the world's third largest-economy get
back on its feet.
Prices for food and basic items are
also increasing. The government's data from November showed that grocery prices
rose by 18.1 percent, electricity 8.2 percent and gasoline 8.7 percent.
Consumer prices excluding food and
energy increased 0.6 percent compared to last year, the biggest rise since
Worker incomes declined by 1.1 percent
in November. Excluding housing costs, household spending fell by 1.2 percent
from the month before.
"From an unemployment rate
perspective, the economy as a whole may not be on the upswing," said
Tsutomu Watanabe, professor of economics at the University of Tokyo. "It
may be that prices are increasing not because of actual consumer spending but
from anticipation that prices of products will rise."
Economists say a planned consumption
tax hike from 5 percent to 8 percent in April 2014 was expected to push
consumer spending up before that, followed by a fall in spending after the tax
hike kicks in.