Wed, Feb 07, 2018 - Page 11 News List

CPI up on everyday items

GOING UP:The rising cost of miscellaneous items, such as a 5.03% increase in dairy products, was offset by reduced rates for education and theme park tickets, a report said

By Crystal Hsu  /  Staff reporter

The consumer price index (CPI) last month rose 0.88 percent from a year earlier, as prices for food, transportation, medical care and miscellaneous items increased, offsetting the decline in recreational costs, the Directorate-General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics (DGBAS) said yesterday.

Of the seven major consumer product categories, miscellaneous items saw the biggest price increase of 1.99 percent from a year earlier, attributed mainly to more expensive cigarettes, DGBAS senior executive officer Jasmine Mei (梅家瑗) told a media briefing.

Cigarette prices soared 35.02 percent year-on-year after the government raised taxes in June last year to help finance long-term care services for the nation’s fast-growing aging population.

Vendors are not allowed to raise prices for cigarettes manufactured before the tax hike took effect.

Medical and healthcare costs rose another 1.78 percent last month after health authorities increased co-payment rates and registration fees for outpatient visits in April last year, Mei said.

Transportation and communication expenses advanced 1.64 percent on the back of a 7.3 percent increase in international oil prices, the report said.

Food costs, which account for about 25 percent of the inflation gauge, gained 0.82 percent, as vegetable, milk and grain product prices rose 25.04 percent, 5.03 percent and 3.11 percent respectively, the report said.

In addition, meat product prices rose 2.85 percent.

Vegetable prices slumped 27.43 percent due to a lingering high base effect last year, when bad weather disrupted supply and pushed up costs sharply, Mei said.

Education and entertainment prices fell 1.45 percent because hotels and theme parks offered discounts to attract customers and boost sales, Mei said, adding that the Lunar New Year holiday falling last year in January also raised the comparison bar.

The CPI after seasonal adjustments declined 0.23 percent while the core CPI — a more reliable long-term indicator of consumer prices because it excludes volatile items — increased by 0.82 percent, the report said.

Both readings suggested stable consumer prices.

The wholesale price index, a measure of commercial production costs, fell 0.74 percent last month from a year earlier, as oil and metal product costs increased, but agricultural product prices softened, the report said.

The index on export prices rose 4.12 percent in US dollar terms, lifted mainly by more expensive mineral, chemical and metal products, it said.

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