Thu, Oct 06, 2016 - Page 12 News List

Living costs climb despite fall in fuel costs

By Crystal Hsu  /  Staff reporter

The consumer price index (CPI) edged up 0.33 percent last month from a year earlier as food and living costs climbed higher despite a decline in transportation costs for the first time in two years amid stable crude oil prices, the Directorate-General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics (DGBAS) said yesterday.

“Two typhoons disrupted fruit supplies last month, increasing costs 10.02 percent from a year earlier,” DGBAS Deputy Director Tsai Yu-tai (蔡鈺泰) told a news conference.

Fruit and vegetable prices rose sharply in September last year because of typhoons, Tsai said, adding that the higher base meant that overall vegetable prices fell 11.18 percent.

Fish product prices advanced 6.54 percent, meat gained 1.52 percent and dining costs rose 1.34 percent, the DGBAS report said.

Altogether, food costs, which account for 25 percent of the CPI weighting, inched up 0.88 percent, the report said.

The inflationary gauge registered a 0.09 percent increase after seasonal adjustments last month, suggesting stable consumer prices, the report said.

Core CPI, a better track of long-term inflation trends because it excludes volatile items, rose 0.95 percent last month, the report said, widening from a revised 0.77 percent in August, but still benign.

Transportation and communication costs increased 0.24 percent, rising for the first time since August 2014, after international crude oil prices emerged from a downward spiral, Tsai said.

For the first nine months of the year, the CPI rose 1.27 percent annually, comfortably below the central bank’s 2 percent target.

The wholesale price index (WPI) — a measure of production costs — fell 3.95 percent last month from a year earlier, easing from a revised 4.02 percent decline in August, the report said.

Excluding foreign exchanges, export prices weakened 1.62 percent from a year earlier, the report said, posing less of a challenge for exports that have benefited from launches of new-generation tech devices in the US and China.

For the first nine months of the year, WPI dropped 3.92 percent from a year earlier, the report said.

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