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Japanese core annual inflation eases further in December 2018

Consumer price inflation in Japan, excluding that of fresh food, eased to 0.7% on an annual basis in December 2018 before seasonal adjustments from a 0.9% rise a month ago, data from the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications showed.

On a seasonally adjusted monthly basis, consumer prices excluding fresh food dipped 0.1% in December 2018 compared with the previous month.

Fuel, light and water charges rose 5.0% year over year in December 2018, while they edged 0.1% higher on a monthly basis. Medical care prices gained 1.3% on an annual basis but eased by 0.1% month over month. Transportation and communication prices edged 0.1% lower year over year in December 2018 and fell 0.9% on a monthly basis.

Excluding fresh food and energy, consumer prices rose 0.3% annually in Japan during December 2018 and were flat from the previous month.

The data comes ahead of the Bank of Japan's two-day monetary policy meeting beginning Jan. 22, where the central bank is expected to keep its interest rate on hold as inflation remains below the bank's target of 2%.