Japan’s central bank said Friday that wholesale prices fell 6.6 percent in June from a year earlier, the biggest fall on record and the latest sign that deflation is returning to the country.
The Bank of Japan’s corporate good price index, which tracks the cost of a wide range of products sold domestically, declined for the sixth straight month. On a monthly basis, prices slipped 0.3 percent from May.
The yearly fall was the largest since the central bank began keeping comparable data in 1960.
Deflation can hurt economic growth because it cuts into company profits as prices fall. It can also lead consumers to put off purchases on the expectation that prices will fall further, and increase debt burdens.
Last month, another key indicator also showed prices were falling in Japan. The government said the country’s key consumer price index fell at a record pace in May, the third straight month of decline.
Friday’s data from the central bank showed that import prices fell 32.2 percent on a yen basis, while exports were down 12.8 percent.