AFP - Japan's core consumer prices dropped 2.4 percent in August from a year earlier, the fourth straight month of record falls, official figures showed Tuesday.
Core prices, which exclude those of volatile fresh food, fell for a sixth straight month after a 2.2 percent decline in July, the internal affairs ministry said.
The record fall for August was in line with market expectations. It stemmed from lower gasoline and other energy costs as well as weak domestic demand.
The deflation comes despite recent signs of an improvement in the Japanese economy, which returned to positive growth in the second quarter of 2009, exiting a severe year-long recession.
Japan was stuck in a deflationary spiral for years after its asset price bubble burst in the early 1990s, prompting consumers to put off purchases in the hope of further price drops and reducing corporate earnings.
The core consumer prices in Tokyo, a leading indicator of the nationwide trend, fell by an estimated 2.1 percent in September from a year earlier.