TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan’s annual core consumer inflation eased in February as energy prices fell and the coronavirus outbreak clouded the outlook as consumers grow more cautious about spending, adding to fears the economy could be sliding into recession. FILE PHOTO: A man looks at price lists outside a store in Tokyo, Japan, October 4, 2016. REUTERS/Toru Hanai/ The weak data comes days after the Bank of Japan announced a package of emergency easing measures in a bid to stabilise economic activity and financial markets, as the global shock from the pandemic deepens. For Japanese policymakers and investors, growth risks have eclipsed the usual fretting over stubbornly weak inflation, which is far from the BOJ’s 2% target. The core consumer price index, which includes oil products but excludes volatile fresh food prices, grew 0.6% in the year to February, data from the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications showed on Thursday. That pace was slower than an 0.8% rise in January and matched economists’ median estimate for a 0.6% rise. The so-called core-core price index, which excludes food and energy prices and is closely watched by the central bank as a narrower gauge of inflation, rose 0.6% in February. Excluding… Read full this story
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