Annual growth in the nation’s headline inflation slowed last month from February as expected, providing more evidence that consumer prices this year could show mild growth, the Directorate-General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics (DGBAS) said yesterday.
However, the faster expansion rate of restaurant prices should be carefully monitored, the DGBAS added.
The consumer price index (CPI) rose 1.39 percent last month from a year ago, compared with annual growth of 2.97 percent in February, the DGBAS said in its monthly report.
On a monthly basis, the reading dropped 1.41 percent last month.
Since consumer prices rose slighty last month, the headline inflation reading showed a 1.81 percent growth in the first quarter from a year earlier, lower than the 1.99 percent expansion forecast by the government in February.
“Consumer prices for the whole year might maintain this mild pace of growth,” DGBAS Deputy Director Beatrice Tsai (蔡美娜) said.
The report showed that spending on miscellaneous services, and fish and meat product prices, returned to normal levels after the Lunar New Year holiday, normalizing headline inflation from February onward.
Vegetable prices also dropped 16.38 percent last month from a year earlier, causing prices in the food sector to grow just 1.25 percent year-on-year, the report said.
However, the cost of dining out rose 2.38 percent last month from a year ago, the 15th consecutive month it has shown an expansion of 2 percent or more.
Tsai said prices for dining out should be carefully monitored, because prices in the restaurant sector — which accounts for 10 percent of the CPI — would not be easily revised downward.
The wholesale price index (WPI) dropped 3.1 percent last month from the same month a year ago, falling for the 13th month in a row. The 3.1 percent year-on-year decline also marked the largest drop for the three-and-a-half years.
The DGBAS attributed the falling pace of the WPI to the recent decline in global agricultural and industrial raw material prices, which caused a 5.56 percent drop in import prices.