Japan wholesale inflation spikes, squeezing corporate profits

FILE PHOTO: People wearing protective masks are reflected in the mirror at a shopping mall in Tokyo amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Tokyo, Japan, August 19, 2021. REUTERS/Athit Perawongmetha/File Photo

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan’s wholesale prices surged 6.3% in September from a year earlier as raw material costs continued to rise, data showed on Tuesday, a sign that global commodity inflation is squeezing the bottom line for corporates.

The rise in the corporate goods price index (CGPI), which measures the price companies charge each other for their goods and services, exceeded a median market forecast for a 5.9% gain and accelerated from a revised 5.8% increase in August.

Domestic final goods prices, which loosely track the consumer price index, rose 1.8% from a year earlier, Bank of Japan data showed.

The gain in the CGPI was driven by price rises for a broad range of raw material goods including wood, fuel and nonferrous metals, the data showed, while companies have been unable to pass on rising costs in full to consumers due to weak demand.

Japan’s economy is gradually recovering thanks to robust external demand, but rising input costs, supply constraints and weak consumption have clouded the outlook.

Soft household spending has kept consumer inflation hovering around zero in Japan, contrary to other major economies that have seen prices spikes on strong demand and supply bottlenecks.

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