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Japan's wholesale prices fall 0.8% in Sept. on coronavirus slowdown

This file photo taken March 2020 shows the Bank of Japan headquarters in Tokyo. (Kyodo)

TOKYO (Kyodo) -- Wholesale prices in Japan dropped 0.8 percent in September from a year earlier, weighed down by falling energy prices and sluggish domestic demand amid the coronavirus pandemic, the Bank of Japan said Monday.

    The price of goods traded between companies, which impacts consumer prices, fell for the seventh straight month, posting a continued challenge to the central bank's efforts to hit its 2 percent inflation target.

    Economic activity has gained traction after it fell away due to the spread of the novel coronavirus earlier in the year, although the BOJ still views economic conditions as severe.

    Prices of petroleum and coal products tumbled 13.9 percent, reflecting a sharp year-on-year drop in crude oil prices. Among other decliners in energy-related products, electricity, gas and water prices decreased 4.6 percent while chemical and related products fell 5.5 percent, according to the BOJ data.

    "As the impact of coronavirus infections lingers globally, the pace of recovery in economic activity has been modest, which continues to weigh on wholesale prices," a BOJ official said.

    Reflecting weak domestic demand, prices of lumber and wood products as well as those of coal and iron fell 1.1 percent, respectively.

    Import prices dropped 10.1 percent and export prices decreased 1.5 percent, both in yen terms.

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