Wed, Dec 06, 2017 - Page 12 News List

CPI rises on transportation costs

By Crystal Hsu  /  Staff reporter

The consumer price index (CPI) last month rose 0.35 percent, reversing a 0.33 percent decline in October, as prices for transportation, medical care and miscellaneous items increased, the Directorate-General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics said yesterday.

Of the seven major consumer product categories, miscellaneous items gained the most at 4.97 percent from a year earlier, the agency said.

Cigarette prices soared 27.27 percent, the highest in 15 years, as tax hikes introduced in June grew more evident last month, DGBAS senior executive officer Jasmine Mei (梅家瑗) told a media briefing.

Vendors are not allowed to raise prices for cigarettes made before the adjustments.

Taxes on individual packs of cigarettes have climbed by NT$20 to NT$31.8, supposedly to help cover long-term care costs.

The inflationary gauge after seasonal adjustments grew 0.71 percent, further easing deflation concerns seen in October, the DGBAS said.

Analysts generally forecast a decline due to a high comparison base last year.

Transportation and communication expenses picked up 2.44 percent on the back of a 13.49 percent gain in international oil prices, the report said.

Healthcare costs rose 1.52 percent, while living costs advanced 1.33 percent, it said.

The state-run oil refiner CPC Corp, Taiwan (CPC, 台灣中油) increased prices of natural gas and liquefied natural gas by 19.5 percent this year.

Food costs, which comprise 25 percent of the reading, dropped 2.68 percent, due mainly to cheaper vegetables, fruits and eggs, the statistics agency said.

Bad weather last year disrupted vegetable and fruit supplies and pushed up their costs sharply.

Egg prices shed another 12.05 percent as fipronil-related contamination reports continued to weigh, the report said.

The core CPI — a more reliable long-term indicator of consumer prices because it excludes volatile items — increased by 1.3 percent, it said.

In the first 11 months of this year, consumer prices gained 0.57 percent.

The wholesale price index, a measure of commercial production costs, advanced 1.57 percent last month, relatively stable compared with a 1.66 percent gain in October, the report said.

Import prices rose 5.44 percent in US dollar terms, while export prices increased 4.64 percent, it said, as costs for basic metal, mineral and chemical products continued to go up.

A stable global economy has lent support to inventory demand for manufacturing sectors, it said.

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