(MENAFN - AFP) Deflation-plagued Japan's core consumer prices rose year-on-year for the fourth consecutive month in September on higher energy costs, government data showed Friday.
The consumer price index, which measures a basket of everyday goods but excludes the volatile cost of fresh food, was up 0.7 percent from a year earlier, according to the internal affairs ministry.
The rise was in line with market expectations and compares with a 0.8 percent rise in August, which was the biggest monthly rise since November 2008.
In September electricity bills rose by 7.6 percent on year while automobile-related costs also went up 4.3 percent due to higher gasoline prices, the data showed.
Excluding fresh food and energy prices, consumer prices were flat in September.
Fossil energy imports soared in the wake of the Fukushima atomic disaster in 2011 that forced the shutdown of Japan's nuclear reactors, and the yen's rapid depreciation since late last year has boosted import costs.
Some firms are raising prices for the first time in many years but that is largely due to the weak yen driving up material costs.
Still, the new figures are likely to be embraced by the government of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe who took office in December last year.
The conservative leader has pledged to drag Japan out of its 15-year deflationary funk with a policy blitz dubbed "Abenomics", lifting prices and wages to get the economy moving again.
While falling prices may sound like a good thing for shoppers, they can be bad for growth because they encourage consumers to put off spending, knowing they will pay less for a product if they wait.