Last month’s consumer price index (CPI) rose 0.29 percent from a year earlier, compared with a revised 0.47 percent contraction in August, on increased clothing and electricity costs, the -Directorate-General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics (DGBAS) said yesterday.
The core CPI, which excludes vegetable, fruit, fish and energy prices, grew 0.71 percent compared with the same period last year, posting an eighth consecutive month of annual increase, the agency said.
“The CPI rose last month chiefly because of lower discounts on clothing sales and higher summer electricity rates, in addition to increased fuel prices and overseas tour fees,” DGBAS section chief Wu Chao-ming (吳昭明) told a media briefing.
Clothing and accessory prices saw the largest annual growth at 3.83 percent among all categories due partly to rising gold prices, followed by household-related costs at 1.59 percent as the summer electricity rate ended a month earlier last year, leading to a lower comparison base, Wu said.
Cheng Cheng-mount (鄭貞茂), head economist at Citigroup Taiwan Inc, said by telephone that last month’s CPI gain was “moderate” and that there was no imminent inflationary pressure yet.
On a monthly basis, the CPI rose 0.1 percent from the previous month, compared with a 0.02 percent gain in August, as Typhoon Fanapi and the Mid-Autumn Festival drove up vegetable prices and Chinese medicine material prices rose on decreasing supply, DGBAS said.
In the first nine months, the CPI climbed 0.91 percent from the same period last year, with the sub-index of commodity prices rising the most by 1.85 -percent from a year earlier, its data showed.
Meanwhile, the wholesale price index (WPI) rose 3.64 percent from a year earlier last month on rising prices of base metals, chemical materials and imported iron ore. On a monthly basis, the WPI grew 0.13 percent from August.
“An appreciation of the NT dollar offset the [monthly] growth of WPI. In August, the WPI rose 0.39 percent month on month,” Wu said.
While the monthly growth was reduced, it still reflected a gain in raw material costs, leading the CPI to edge up, he added.
Looking ahead, DGBAS predicted a 1.23 percent gain in CPI for the full year, but Cheng forecast the headline index could only grow 0.9 percent this year because of a base effect.
“The DGBAS’ estimate is apparently too high, although the government has continued to revise its prediction downward,” Cheng said.
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