Wed, Mar 09, 2016 - Page 13 News List

Food prices propel CPI to 2.4% surge

INFLATIONARY GAUGE:Food costs rose 8.45 percent last month year-on-year, with prices of vegetables and fruits rising 80.7% and 14.51% respectively, the DGBAS said

By Lauly Li  /  Staff reporter

Taiwan’s consumer price index (CPI) last month surged 2.4 percent year-on-year, driven by a jump in food prices caused by Lunar New Year demand and farm damage from a cold snap, the Directorate-General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics (DGBAS) said yesterday.

The figure represents the highest annual CPI increase for 36 consecutive months, government data showed.

The nation’s CPI last month increased 1.94 percent month-on-month, the DGBAS report showed.

“Prices of vegetables, fruits, fishery products and electricity usage last month were higher than in the same period last year,” DGBAS Deputy Director Tsai Yu-tai (蔡鈺泰) said at a news conference.

In addition, the average price of some processed foods and the costs of dining out were higher than the same period last year, contributing to the CPI increase, Tsai said.

Food costs climbed 8.45 percent last month year-on-year — the steepest increase for 42 consecutive months, with prices of vegetables and fruits rising 80.7 percent and 14.51 percent respectively, the DGBAS report said.

Slightly offsetting the rise, prices of meat products dropped 2.24 percent, the report said.

Increasing food costs raised the inflationary gauge by a total of 1.93 percentage points, the report said.

The nation’s living costs last month were 1.42 percent higher than the same period last year, due to the government’s electricity refunds last year which lowered the comparison base for household electricity costs, the DGBAS said.

Falling prices of international crude oil products remained a factor in lowering the average costs of communication and transportation, which last month fell 3.26 percent year-on-year, the DGBAS said.

The DGBAS said falling transportation and communication costs lowered the CPI by 0.45 percentage points last month.

Dining costs, which constitute 10 percent of the CPI, rose 1.72 percent annually last month, the data showed.

Core CPI, a more reliable measure of long-term inflationary pressure, as it excludes volatile items, last month posted a 0.82 percent increase year-on-year, the DGBAS said.

In January and last month combined, the nation’s CPI rose 1.6 percent from the same period last year, while core CPI climbed 0.73 percent, the data showed.

The wholesale price index (WPI) — a measure of production costs — dropped 4.79 percent last month year-on-year, dragged down by a continued decline in global crude oil prices, base metals and petrochemicals, the DGBAS said.

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