TOKYO (AP) — Japan's consumer price index rose 0.4 percent in 2013, the first increase in five years, further evidence the recovery in the world's third-largest economy is gaining momentum.
The government reported Friday that the core consumer price index, excluding fresh food, rose 1.3 percent in December, helping push inflation higher.
The data show factory output rose 1.1 percent in December from the month before, while the jobless rate fell to 3.7 percent, its lowest level in six years.
A flood of cash from central bank asset purchases and other government spending has underpinned demand, helping to boost growth despite a weakening in Japan's trade balance.
A tax hike due to take effect on April 1 is expected to dent growth in coming months, as consumers tighten their belts to compensate.