Tue, Dec 07, 2004 - Page 10 News List

Consumer, wholesale prices up slightly last month

ECONOMIC INDICATORS Prices rose moderately from the same period last year, while the overall increase for the year so far is lower than other regional economies

By Joyce Huang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Consumer and wholesale prices rose slightly last month compared with the same month last year due to the local currency's appreciation and stabilizing oil prices, the Directorate General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics (DGBAS) said.

No inflation threat

"Fluctuations in consumer and wholesale prices have been stable and mild, and have imposed no inflationary pressure," a DGBAS division chief, Tsuei Chou-ying (崔洲英), told a press conference yesterday.

"Actually, mild inflation would do the economy some good," Tsuei said.

Compared with the same month last year, the consumer price index (CPI) and wholesale product index (WPI), respectively, rose by 1.49 percent and 9.06 percent last month, which Tsuei said was a moderate increase.

Relatively lower

For the first 11 months of the year, Taiwan's CPI rose an average 1.6 percent, lower than the 1.7 percent increase reported in Singapore, a 3.7 percent rise in South Korea and a 4.1 percent rise in China, Tsuei said.

Export prices in particular marked an 8.01 percent rise in US dollars -- the biggest since July 1995, she said.

The DGBAS had previously forecast the CPI to rise 1.81 percent this year and 1.88 percent next year, with Director-General Hsu Jan-yau (許璋瑤) saying a CPI increase below 3 percent would be acceptable.

If crude oil prices rise by 10 percent, the CPI could increase by 0.4 percent, Hsu had said late last month.

Abundant produce

However, consumer and wholesale prices last month edged down by a respective 1.29 percent and 1.78 percent from one month earlier as a result of an abundance of vegetables and agricultural produce in winter, the DGBAS' figures showed.

According to the DGBAS, the CPI dropped from October's 102.24 points to 101.23 points in November while the WPI dropped to 111.72 points last month.

The index stood at 100 points in 2001, its base year.

According to Tsuei, the recent stability in consumer prices is attributable to stiff competition and lower cproduction costs. This has kept manufacturers from increasing their prices in spite of the recent appreciation of the local currency.

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