The annual growth in the consumer price index (CPI) last month hit its highest level since August last year because of higher prices for fishery and meat products, and an increase in travel and other spending on services during the Lunar New Year holiday, the Directorate-General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics (DGBAS) said yesterday.
The nation’s headline inflation rose 2.97 percent last month from a year earlier, compared with annual growth of 1.13 percent in January, as Lunar New Year holiday season purchases boosted prices of food and certain services, the DGBAS said in a report.
Combining data in the first two months of this year — a more accurate indicator to evaluate the trend in consumer prices — the CPI grew 2.05 percent year-on-year, the highest increase during the same period since 2008, the report said.
Core CPI, which excludes vegetables, fruit and energy prices, climbed 1.25 percent in the first two months from a year earlier, data showed.
DGBAS senior executive officer Tsuei Chou-ying (崔洲英) attributed the faster year-on-year expansion in headline inflation last month to higher prices of fruit, gasoline and household electricity.
Electricity spending rose 3.74 percent in the first two months from a year earlier, contributing 0.08 percentage points to the annual growth in inflation, while the price of vehicle fuel — which increased 11.85 percent during the same period — added 0.41 percentage points, data showed.
The faster growth in CPI growth last month was in line with the DGBAS’ expectations, Tsuei said, adding that headline inflation may rise by less than 2 percent this month from a year ago because of a high comparison basis last year and the lack of seasonal factors.
Headline inflation is likely to peak in the first quarter at 1.99 percent, but growth will slow in the remaining quarters of this year, Tsuei said.
Chung-Hua Institution for Economic Research (中華經濟研究院) president Wu Chung-shu (吳中書) said he was not worried about inflation this year, because domestic demand remains weak.
Wu forecast Taiwan’s CPI would grow at a moderate 1.5 percent this year if global raw material prices do not increase and affect local consumer prices.
The DGBAS forecast a 1.37 percent growth in full-year CPI this year.
The wholesale price index dropped 2.2 percent last month from a year ago, but rose 1.47 percent from January, according to the report.