The nation’s headline inflation reading last month recorded its first year-on-year contraction since August last year, mainly due to a lower comparison base in February last year, the Directorate-General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics (DGBAS) said yesterday.
The consumer price index (CPI) fell 0.05 percent last month compared with a year ago, following a 0.83 percent increase in the previous month, the DGBAS said.
DGBAS Deputy Director Tsai Yu-tai (蔡鈺泰) attributed the results to a difference in the dates of the Lunar New Year holiday — which usually boosts prices of certain goods and services — from last year to this year.
LUNAR NEW YEAR
The Lunar New Year holiday fell in February last year, which raised the comparison basis and led to the drop in the headline inflation reading last month, Tsai added.
The DGBAS’ report showed the food sector reported an overall price rise of 2.54 percent last month from a year earlier, triggered by higher costs of fruit, meat, aquatic products and dining out.
Fruit prices increased 10.01 percent last month from a year earlier on the impact of lower supply, followed by a year-on-year growth of 6.18 percent in meat prices and a 4.53 percent hike for aquatic products, data showed
Prices for dining out rose 1.79 percent from a year ago as restaurants transferred higher costs to their customers, according to the report.
Meanwhile, prices of 17 essential household items monitored by the Cabinet — mostly food products — last month rose by the largest pace in more than two years at 2.84 percent, compared with the year-earlier levels.
“That was mainly caused by higher prices of grain, pork and chicken,” Tsai said.
On a seasonally adjusted basis, the CPI edged up 0.3 percent last month from January, the report showed.
In the first two months, the index was 0.39 percent higher than a year earlier, an indication that inflation remained steady, Tsai said.
The report also showed that the wholesale price index (WPI) fell 0.48 percent last month from the same period last year, following a 0.54 percent growth in January. In the first two months, the WPI grew 0.03 percent year-on-year.