TOKYO, March 28 (Reuters) - Japan’s core consumer prices rose 1.3 percent in February from a year earlier, posting a ninth straight month of gains, government data showed, a sign the economy is making steady progress to overcome 15 years of mild deflation.
The year-on-year gain in the core consumer price index, which includes oil products but excludes fresh food prices, matched economists’ median estimate for a 1.3 percent gain.
It also followed a 1.3 percent gain in January and December, which marked the quickest rise since 1.9 percent in October 2008.
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 0.8 percent in the year to February.
It matched a high last hit in April 1998.
Core consumer prices in Tokyo, available a month before the nationwide data, rose 1.0 percent in March from a year earlier, versus a 0.9 percent rise seen by analysts in a Reuters poll. That followed a 0.9 percent rise in February. (Reporting by Tetsushi Kajimoto; Editing by Edmund Klamann)