The nation’s consumer price index (CPI) contracted for the second straight month last month on falling fuel prices, although food and household costs posted a modest increase, the Directorate-General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics (DGBAS) said yesterday.
“The CPI dropped 0.15 percent year-on-year in March,” DGBAS section chief Wu Chao-ming (吳昭明) told a media briefing.
Wu attributed the downshift chiefly to the base effect, as oil costs declined 22.16 percent from last year, although prices have fluctuated recently.
Wu dismissed concerns about deflation, noting that the food sub-index rose 2.46 percent, led by a 6.1 percent increase in seafood and 4.68 percent hike in vegetables.
Grain and meat products reported an increase of 4.08 percent and 3.88 percent respectively, Wu said.
Cumulatively, consumer prices have dipped 0.01 percent this year.
The DGBAS has predicted the annual inflation index will fall 0.89 percent because of the economic downturn.
Core CPI — used to track long-term inflation as it excludes volatile vegetable, fruit, fish and energy prices — dropped 0.22 percent, the report said.
The wholesale price index fell 9.2 percent after continued declines in raw material, energy and basic metal costs abroad.