TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan’s efforts to hit its elusive inflation target have been hampered by slow wage growth and intensifying global trade frictions but are now also facing headwinds from plans by the country’s biggest mobile phone carrier to cut fees.
NTT Docomo Inc said on Wednesday it would cut mobile charges by up to 40 percent in the April-June quarter next year, following government criticism that fees are left artificially high due to a lack of competition in the industry.
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Other dominant carriers like KDDI Corp and SoftBank Group Corp could follow suit, which could add to the Bank of Japan’s headaches as it struggles to achieve its slippery 2 percent inflation target, analysts say.
“It’s unclear how much such moves could push down consumer inflation. But they could add pressure on the BOJ to cut again its price forecast for next fiscal year, which remains too optimistic,” said Yoshiki Shinke, chief economist at Dai-ichi Life Research Institute.
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NTT Docomo’s announcement came the same day the BOJ cut its inflation forecasts and warned that global uncertainties and the public’s sticky deflationary mindset may mean it would take time to hit its inflation target.
The internal affairs ministry, which compiles the consumer price index, says a 40 percent drop in mobile charges by the main carriers could slow core consumer inflation by 0.96 percentage point. Japan’s CPI data comprises 585 items, including mobile charges that make up 2.4 percent of core CPI.
Cuts - CPI - Extent
However, just how much such cuts would weigh on the CPI would depend on the extent to which...
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