Japan's core consumer price index, which excludes fresh foods, dropped 2.2% in October, raising concern that a persistent deflationary trend will block the country's recovery. The drop came after a 2.3% slide in September and marked the eighth consecutive month of decline. "The government's declaration of deflation has made us pay much closer attention to price-related data," said Mari Iwashita, chief market economist at Nikko Cordial Securities. "Discussions for further monetary steps will gain momentum, and we can't rule out the chance of more [Bank of Japan] action."

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