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Japan’s Core Consumer Prices Rise 3.1 Pct in February

Japan’s core consumer price index (CPI) in February rose 3.1 percent from a year earlier, exhibiting a slowdown from a four-decade high, the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications said Friday.

The gain in CPI, which excludes volatile fresh food but includes oil products, slowed sharply from a 41-year high of 4.2 percent seen in January, matching a median market forecast, mostly due to the effect of government subsidies to curb utility bills, according to the ministry.

While the pace of rise in the key gauge of inflation slowed for the first time in 13 months, overall inflation would have been as high as 4.4 percent without the impact of government subsidies on electricity and gas bills, the data indicated.

Japanese households are increasingly feeling the pain of price hikes of everyday goods, as well as energy bills, with the yen’s weakness further inflating prices dampening household sentiment.