Japan's core consumer prices rose for the first time in five months in November, but household spending tumbled, casting doubt on the central bank's view that robust consumption will help accelerate inflation to its 2 percent target.
The mixed batch of data will keep alive expectations that BOJ Governor Haruhiko Kuroda, who has said he will do whatever it takes to achieve his ambitious price goal, may nudge the central bank into expanding stimulus as early as next month.
"The downward pressure from falling oil prices seems to have run its course, which helped core CPI rise," said Hidenobu Tokuda, senior economist at Mizuho Research Institute.
"But consumer prices likely won't rise as fast as the BOJ projects. We expect the central bank to ease next year."