Fastest Japan inflation since ’08 stokes wage pressure:

Plane Fares

A 14.6% increase in the cost of overseas package tours contributed to an acceleration in price gains of leisure services, today’s data showed.

All Nippon Airways Co. will raise ticket prices on domestic flights in March by as much as 9% because the weaker yen is boosting fuel costs.

Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko Kuroda, who began record easing in April, said this week core inflation is expected to hover at slightly above 1% through the first half of 2014. The BOJ will maintain stimulus until core inflation is stable at about 2%, he has said.

Deputy Economy Minister Yasutoshi Nishimura said in an interview today that it “may be difficult” to declare an end to deflation during 2014.

Wage Talks

Abe has held a series of meetings with business and union leaders since September in a campaign to persuade companies to raise wages. Negotiations around March between trade unions and management known as “shunto” -- or the spring wage offensive - - will be key for pay increases.

Honda Motor Co. Executive Vice President Tetsuo Iwamura said on Dec. 13 that the Japanese automaker will set pay based on reaching profitability targets, rather than government directives on how fast to increase compensation.

Retail sales rose more in November than economists projected, marking a fourth straight increase, other data released today showed. The climb may be due to spending ahead of a 3-percentage-point sales-tax increase that takes effect in April.

Japan’s economy is projected to expand an annualized 3.6% this quarter and 4.1% in the first three months of next year, before a one-quarter contraction in April-June after the consumption levy goes up.

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