Sat, Oct 06, 2018 - Page 12 News List

Inflation increases to 1.7% as egg and greens prices soar after southern floods

DOLLAR FACTOR:Wholesale prices increased 6.55% last month as import prices rose more than 10% and exports grew 4.25%, much of it on the back of a weaker NT dollar

By Crystal Hsu  /  Staff reporter

The consumer price index (CPI) last month rose 1.72 percent from the same month last year, as flooding in southern Taiwan in August pushed up egg and vegetable prices, the Directorate-General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics (DGBAS) said yesterday.

The number represented an increase of 19 basis points from an annualized inflation rate of 1.53 percent in August.

Torrential rain late that month and a low base last year drove up egg prices by 32.26 percent to the highest level in more than a decade and vegetable prices by 9.92 percent, the said in a report.

While food costs, which account for 25 percent of the inflationary reading, grew 2.46 percent from a year earlier, prices for 17 critical daily necessities grew by 4.1 percent, the highest in 44 months, it said.

The government keeps close track of the 17 items, which include corn, milk, chicken, bread and toilet tissue, among others.

Prices for the daily necessities rose only 2.6 percent if egg prices were excluded, the agency said.

A 1.72 percent increase in CPI translates into NT$1,376 of additional expenses for a household that spends an average of NT$80,000 per month, a DGBAS official said.

After seasonal adjustments, the gauge inched up 0.14 percent, while the core CPI, a more reliable tracker of long-term consumer price movements because it excludes volatile items, such as fuel, gained 1.2 percent, the report said.

The figures suggest that consumer price increases were moderate and benign, the official said.

The miscellaneous category contributed the most to the CPI increase, with prices growing by 5.08 percent, DGBAS said, as the market has yet to emerge from a cigarette tax hike last year.

Holiday costs included babysitting costs over the Mid-Autumn Festival holiday during the period, the agency said.

Transportation and communication costs rose 2.85 percent as global crude oil prices soared 19.28 percent, pushing up flight ticket prices by 3.24 percent, it said.

The increase came even as mobile phone and other telecom service charges weakened 9.2 percent and 5.56 percent respectively due to competition between operators, it said.

The wholesale price index (WPI), a measure of costs for businesses, last month rose 6.55 percent, easing from a revised 6.92 percent rise in August, DGBAS said.

The agency last month said the WPI grew 6.83 percent in August.

Import prices grew 10.01 percent, led by mineral products, partly because the New Taiwan dollar lost 1.97 percent against the US dollar, it said.

Export prices advanced 4.25 percent, driven by mineral, chemical and related industrial products, DGBAS said, adding that the increase amounted to only 2.2 percent in US dollar terms.

In the first nine months of the year, the CPI grew 1.66 percent, while the WPI rose 3.85 percent, the agency said.

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