Japan's consumer prices flat in August

A declining trend in Japan's consumer prices stalled in August. The index, which excludes fresh food, was flat compared to the same month last year.

The internal affairs ministry says prices had marked year-on-year declines for 12 consecutive months up to July.

Higher crude-oil prices pushed up the cost of fuels in August. Kerosene rose 20 percent and gasoline 16.9 percent.

Consumers also paid more for electricity for the first time in nearly two years, with prices up 0.9 percent.

The cost of accommodation rose 46.6 percent.

That number was heavily influenced by a government subsidy campaign last year promoting domestic tourism.

Prices of mobile-phone charges fell 44.8 percent, as carriers rolled out lower rate plans.

Ministry officials say the levelling-off trend is likely to continue for the time being, but they will closely monitor any impact from the spread of the coronavirus.