Wed, Apr 11, 2018 - Page 12 News List

CPI rises 1.57 percent on consumer product prices

By Crystal Hsu  /  Staff reporter

The consumer price index (CPI) last month rose 1.57 percent as prices of major consumer product categories increased, the Directorate-General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics (DGBAS) said yesterday.

Despite the rise in prices, last month’s CPI reading was still lower than February’s 2.19 percent, the agency said.

Of seven major consumer product categories, miscellaneous items last month posted the biggest annual increase at 5.89 percent on the back of higher cigarette prices, the agency told a media briefing.

Cigarette prices soared 35.38 percent from a year earlier after the government raised taxes in June last year to help finance long-term care services for the nation’s fast-growing aging population.

Transportation and communication expenses rose 1.86 percent as oil product prices increased 6.99 percent, but a 7 percent decline in telecommunication service charges mitigated the pinch, the agency said in a report.

Food costs, which account for about 25 percent of the inflation gauge, advanced 1.31 percent as vegetable, fishery and milk product prices rose 14.59 percent, 5.28 percent and 5.09 percent respectively, the report said.

Medical and healthcare costs rose 1.11 percent as the hikes in co-payment and registration fees lingered, it said.

The CPI after seasonal adjustments edged up only 0.07 percent, suggesting stable consumer prices, the report said.

The core CPI, a more reliable indicator of long-term inflation because it excludes volatile items, rose 1.53 percent, it said.

The index rose 1.54 percent in the first quarter of this year, comfortably below the 2 percent alert for monetary tightening moves, the report said.

The wholesale price index, a measure of commercial production costs, last month rose 0.46 percent from a year earlier, as rising oil, basic metals and chemical product prices more than offset a decline in agricultural product costs, it said.

Export prices last month grew 3.26 percent in US dollar terms, while import prices rose 7.14 percent from the same period last year, the report said.

The price hike in imports is less drastic in New Taiwan dollar terms because the local currency appreciated 5.11 percent against the greenback, it said.

Between January and last month, the wholesale price index declined 0.17 percent from the same period last year, it said, attributing the mild retreat to weaker export prices.

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