TOKYO May 30 Japan's core consumer prices
jumped 3.2 percent in April from a year earlier, government data
showed on Friday, the fastest gain since February 1991 as an
increase in Japan's national sales tax boosted prices across the
The increase in the core consumer price index, which
excludes volatile fresh food prices but includes oil products,
compared with economists' median estimate for a 3.1 percent
rise, the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications said.
That followed a 1.3 percent increase in March, posting the
11th straight month of annual gains.
The Bank of Japan estimates that the sales tax hike - to 8
percent from 5 percent that took effect on April 1 - will add
1.7 percentage points to Japan's annual consumer inflation in
April, and 2.0 points from the following month. The internal
affairs ministry does not provide official estimates.
The so-called core-core inflation index, which excludes food
and energy prices and is similar to the core index used in the
United States, rose 2.3 percent in April from a year earlier,
the fastest annual gain since December 1997.
Core consumer prices in Tokyo, available a month before the
nationwide data and seen as a leading indicator of nationwide
inflation, rose 2.8 percent in May from a year earlier, posting
the quickest rise since April 1992.
(Reporting by Tetsushi Kajimoto; Editing by Chang-Ran Kim)