Wed, Aug 07, 2019 - Page 12 News List

Inflation up 0.4% on vegetables, holidays

By Crystal Hsu  /  Staff reporter

The consumer price index (CPI) last month rose 0.4 percent from a year earlier as heavy rainfall pushed up vegetable prices and travel agencies raised summer tour prices, the Directorate-General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics (DGBAS) said yesterday.

Vegetable prices rose 6.83 percent year-on-year, while fruit prices gained 5.61 percent due to unfavorable weather conditions, DGBAS Senior Executive Officer Chiou Shwu-chwen (邱淑純) told a news conference in Taipei.

Higher vegetable and fruit prices contributed to a 1.71 percent increase in food costs, which have a 25 percent weighting in overall inflation, the agency said in a monthly report.

Despite the increase in food prices, the price of eggs fell 12.02 percent, it said.

Educational and recreational costs rose 0.68 percent mainly because travel agencies raised tour fees for the summer vacation, the report said.

Medical and health expenses increased 0.57 percent after hospitals and clinics hiked registration fees, it said.

Transportation and communication costs fell 1.28 percent, dragged by falling prices of fuel, airplane tickets and Internet services.

EVA Airways Corp (長榮航空) offered discounts to boost passengers following a weeks-long strike by its flight attendants, driving its main rival, China Airlines Ltd (中華航空), to follow suit to remain competitive.

Garment prices fell 1.19 percent as retailers offered discounts on summer clothing, it said.

The CPI after seasonal adjustments inched up 0.01 percent.

The core CPI, a more reliable long-term inflation gauge as it excludes volatile items, advanced 0.34 percent, affirming stable consumer prices, Chiou said.

The wholesale price index (WPI), a measure of production costs, fell 3.42 percent from a year earlier as prices of raw materials, base metals, chemical and oil products fell further amid soft demand, Chiou said.

The trend reflected a slowdown in the global economy.

Export prices dropped 5.68 percent in US dollar terms, putting pressure on overall exports, which are expected to rebound in the second half of this year on the back of inventory demand ahead of the release of next-generation devices next month.

The Ministry of Finance is to release last month’s export data today.

For the first seven months of this year, CPI rose 0.54 percent, while the WPI contracted 0.47 percent, the DGBAS said.

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