Japan's wholesale prices rose 9.5 percent in January from a year earlier as companies continued to pass on higher energy and raw material costs while the pace of gain in import prices caused by a weakening yen moderated, Bank of Japan data showed Friday.
The prices of goods traded between companies climbed for the 23rd straight month, in evidence of persisting inflationary pressure that has been squeezing corporate profits. Corporate goods prices affect consumer prices with a delay, boosting the likelihood that the recent bout of inflation will continue.
The 9.5 percent gain followed a revised 10.5 percent jump in December, the largest since comparable data became available in 1981.
The BOJ has maintained that the inflationary trend, mostly driven by higher import costs, will not last long and its 2 percent inflation target will not be attainable on a sustainable basis. Still, higher prices of everyday goods have been denting household sentiment, with more price hikes seen in the offing.
After the yen's rapid weakening last year boosted the prices of goods brought into Japan, import prices remained elevated in January, up 17.8 percent from a year earlier. The gain, which followed the previous month's 22.2 percent, was the smallest since April 2021, reflecting a recent respite in the yen's sharp drop relative to the U.S. dollar.
Export prices, meanwhile, rose 9.0 percent, in yen terms.
Major contributors to the rise in the corporate goods price index are electricity, city gas and water, which leapt 49.7 percent, along with iron and steel, up 19.2 percent. The prices of food and beverages increased 8.0 percent.
Petroleum and coal products, however, dropped 0.5 percent, after surging crude oil prices last year became a headache for resource-poor Japan.
"The situation remains highly uncertain but we will continue to monitor developments in commodity prices affected by global economic conditions and the situation in Ukraine and import prices as well as how rising costs will be passed on," a BOJ official said.