Japan's core consumer prices fell 0.5 percent in March from a year earlier, down for a fifth straight month, government data showed on Friday, suggesting the Bank of Japan faces a tough task to achieve its 2 percent inflation target.
The fall in the core consumer price index, which includes oil products but excludes volatile prices of fresh fruit, vegetables and seafood, compared with a median market forecast for a 0.4 percent annual fall. It followed a 0.3 percent decline in the year to February.
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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, fell 0.8 percent in March from a year earlier, the data from the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications showed.
Core consumer prices in Tokyo, available a month before the nationwide data, fell 0.3 percent in April from a year earlier, after a 0.5 percent decline in March. The result compared with a median market forecast for a 0.4 percent fall.