Wed, Apr 04, 2012 - Page 11 News List

Government aims to keep CPI growth within 2 percent

Staff writer, with CNA

Despite an increase in fuel prices, the government is aiming to keep the consumer price index’s (CPI) annual growth rate within 2 percent this year, the Directorate-General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics (DGBAS) said yesterday.

At the end of February, the DGBAS estimated that the CPI’s annual growth would be 1.46 percent this year, DGBAS Deputy Minister Luh Dun-jin (鹿篤瑾) said ahead of a Cabinet task force meeting on Friday to discuss the fuel price increases and price stabilization.

Fuel accounts for 3.12 percent of the CPI and a 10 percent increase in oil prices would push up the index — the main indicator of inflation — by 0.357 percentage points, Luh said at a press conference held by the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) legislative caucus.

Citing rising international energy costs, both state-run CPC Corp, Taiwan (CPC, 台灣中油) and privately owned Formosa Petrochemical Corp (台塑石化) raised their fuel prices on Sunday by an average of about 10 percent.

Commenting on the price hikes, Fair Trade Commission spokesperson Sun Lih-chyun (孫立群) said that if Formosa Petrochemical raised its prices autonomously, the company had not violated the Fair Trade Act (公平交易法).

However, Sun said if investigations revealed that Formosa Petrochemical had jointly raised prices with CPC, the company would be penalized.

With fuel prices having increased, the prices of other consumer goods are likely to follow suit, so the commission will closely observe the transportation and gas industries to prevent them from jointly hiking prices, Sun added.

Following an announcement on Monday by Taiwan Power Co (Taipower, 台電) that it was considering increasing electricity rates, Luh asked the state-run firm not to raise basic electricity prices drastically, saying a 10 percent increase would push up the CPI by 0.356 percentage points.

Taipower should consider the majority of Taiwanese households and take into account families that are financially disadvantaged, Luh said.

However, whether electricity rates should be raised for industrial users and high-income families was still being reviewed, Luh said.

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