February 28, 2013


Japan to raise prices for wheat imports



Japan will increase the wholesale prices of five imported wheat varieties by an average of 9.7% this April due to higher international market prices and the depreciation of Japanese Yen.


The yen's decline triggered by the policy of the government of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe formed in December has pushed up prices by 2%, and new prices to become effective in October might get even higher if the Japanese currency remains weak, the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries said.


The rate of increase in April is the second steepest after the 18% notched in April 2011.


Of five main wheat varieties, two for use in udon noodles and confection will become 14.2% more expensive. The prices for the remaining three varieties used in bread and Chinese noodles will jump 7.5%, making it likely that price hikes will be passed onto consumers.


Following the ministry's announcement, Nippon Flour Mills Co. said it will consider raising its charges. Other milling firms that produce wheat for industrial and retail use are also expected to follow suit.


The government buys all imported wheat, on which Japan relies for 90% of its consumption, and revises the prices twice a year -- in April and October.

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