Japan's consumer inflation eased in February for a seventh straight month increasing expectations that the Bank of Japan (BOJ) will have to undertake further stimulus measures to achieve its price target.
The consumer price index (CPI) rose 2.0 percent in February from the year-ago period, government data showed on Friday, compared with Reuters' forecast for a rise of 2.1 percent and down from a 2.2 percent rise in January.
Excluding the effects of the consumption sales tax hike in April, the nationwide consumer price index was flat in February after increasing 0.2 percent in January. That marks the first time since May 2013 that it stopped rising.
"I think this will keep the pressure on the Bank of Japan to keep their foot on the accelerator," Joe Zidle, portfolio strategist at Richard Bernstein Advisors, told CNBC. "You've had this split between the BOJ and the government over quantitative and qualitative easing and I think this is going to force the to keep the spigots open."
"This is an economy thats showing data point after data point that its too weak to stand on its own," he added.
Many analysts believe the trend will continue.
"The Tokyo CPI result suggests that the nationwide core CPI will probably remain flat yoy in March. However, electricity and gas charges are expected to start declining from April onwards, putting larger downward pressures on the core CPI inflation rate going forward," it said in a note.