Japan July core CPI seen rising 2.4%, near 8-year-high, Reuters poll says

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People make their way at Ameyoko shopping district in Tokyo, Japan, May 20, 2022. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon/File Photo

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TOKYO, Aug 12 (Reuters) - Japan's core consumer price index (CPI) for July likely rose 2.4% from a year earlier, accelerating to the fastest pace in nearly eight years and topping the central bank's 2% inflation target for a fourth month, a Reuters poll showed on Friday.

"Electricity and gas prices started to re-accelerate, while price hikes are becoming more prevalent in goods such as processed foods," said Takeshi Minami, chief economist at Norinchukin Research Institute.

Economists estimate the nationwide core CPI, which excludes volatile fresh food costs but includes energy, was 2.4% higher last month than a year earlier. That would be the fastest increase since December 2014 and follow the 2.2% annual gain seen in June.

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Excluding periods when the indicator was skewed by effects of higher sales tax, the expected core CPI rise for July would be the fastest since August 2008.

While raising its core inflation projection to 2.3% for the current fiscal year, ending next March, the Bank of Japan last month kept its ultra-easy policy unchanged to support an economy still reeling from pandemic damage. read more

The central bank's next interest rate review is set for Sept. 21-22.

Elsewhere in the poll, July imports were seen soaring 45.7% from a year earlier on the weak yen and a commodity rally, outgrowing a 18.2% expansion in exports, according to the median estimate of 17 economists.

Japan's July trade balance is estimated at a shortfall of 1.405 trillion yen ($10.53 billion), marking the 12th month of a deficit.

Core machinery orders, a leading indicator of capital expenditure, were expected to have risen 1.3% month-on-month in June, following a 5.6% fall in May.

The government will release the CPI data at 8:30 a.m. on Aug. 19 (2330 GMT, Aug. 18). Trade and machinery orders figures are due at 8:50 a.m. on Aug. 17 (2350 GMT, Aug. 16).

($1 = 133.4100 yen)

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Reporting by Kantaro Komiya; Editing by Bradley Perrett

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