— Japan March Core CPI -0.1% Y/Y, 25th Drop In Row; Feb -0.3%
— Japan March Core CPI MNI Survey Median Forecast: -0.2% Y/Y
— Central Tokyo Apr Core CPI +0.2% Y/Y, 1st Rise In 25 Mths; Mar -0.3%
— Japan FY2010 CPI -0.8% Y/Y Vs FY2009 -1.6%
— Japan March CPI Energy Costs +6.3% Y/Y Vs Feb +4.0%

TOKYO (MNI) – Japan’s national core consumer deflation slowed in
March to just below zero, a slightly better-than-expected result, as
rising energy costs continued to provide support to overall prices, data
released Thursday by the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications

The nationwide core CPI, which excludes fresh food but includes
energy, fell 0.1% in March from a year earlier, posting the 25th
straight y/y drop, following -0.3% in February.

The March reading was the smallest since April 2009, when the core
CPI also dipped 0.1% y/y.

March core CPI was above the median forecast of -0.2% by economists
polled by Market News International.

The March decline was led by markdowns in durable goods such as
consumer electronics as well as the continued year-on-year drop in high
school tuition costs resulting from government tuition subsidies put in
place last April. The depressing effect of the tuition subsidies on
the year-on-year inflation rate will disappear in the April national

Total national CPI, meantime, was flat in March from a year earlier
for the fourth straight month.

Overall energy costs in March rose 6.3% following a gain of 4.0% in

The national average retail price for regular gasoline rose 14.2%
on year in March, accelerating sharply from +7.0% in February, according
to the Oil Information Center.

For the whole of fiscal 2010 ended March 31, core CPI fell 0.8%,
the second straight annual decline after -1.6% in the previous year.
Overall CPI fell 0.4%, also down for the second consecutive year
following -1.7% in FY2009.

Meanwhile, central Tokyo core CPI rose 0.2% year-on-year in April,
the first y/y rise in 25 months since +0.4% in March 2009, after the
government’s tuition assistance program was factored out of the
year-on-year calculations.

Tokyo-area energy costs rose 3.9% in April following a 2.0% rise
y/y in March.

National CPI excluding food and energy, or the U.S. style core CPI,
fell 0.7% in March from the year before, posting the 27th consecutive
monthly fall following -0.6% in February.

The central Tokyo CPI excluding both food and energy was unchanged
from a year earlier in April after falling 0.3% in March.

CPI figures date to 1970 under the current 2005 base year.

** Market News International Tokyo Newsroom: 81-3-5403-4835 **

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