Consumer prices last month hit their highest level since September last year as food, travel charges and taxi fees rose during the Lunar New Year holiday, the Directorate-General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics (DGBAS) said yesterday.
The consumer price index (CPI) increased by 0.76 percent last month from a year earlier, accelerating from 0.45 percent annual growth in December, DGBAS said.
“The Lunar New Year holiday was in February last year, not January, making January last year a lower comparison base,” DGBAS Deputy Director Tsai Yu-tai (蔡鈺泰) told a press conference.
Traditionally, prices for certain goods and services — such as taxi fares, nanny fees, travel rates and prices of meat and seafood products — climb during the Lunar New Year holidays.
Fruit prices rose the most, surging 11.12 percent last month from a year earlier, which contributed 0.27 percentage points to the lift in the CPI as fruit supply lagged behind demand, the report said.
However, the supply of vegetables remained sufficient last month, bringing down prices by 19.34 percent from a year earlier and dragging down the index by 0.46 percentage points, the report’s data showed.
The core CPI — which excludes vegetables, fruit and energy prices — climbed 0.95 percent last month from a year ago, marking the largest increase since March last year, DGBAS said.
Taipei-based Capital Securities Corp (群益證券) said the sequence of year-on-year rises in CPI may end this month, as the Lunar New Year timing difference could have distorted the prices of certain products and so present a low comparison base for this month.
Meanwhile, the wholesale price index (WPI) rose 0.42 percent last month from a year earlier, ending 22 months of annual contractions, DGBAS said in its report.
Tsai said the rebound in the WPI last month indicated that the current global economic sentiment is not as weak as before.