CPI climbs 0.5% on rising transport, gas and healthcare costs

By Crystal Hsu  /  Staff reporter

Sat, Oct 07, 2017 - Page 12

The consumer price index (CPI) last month climbed 0.5 percent from a year earlier, as prices for natural gas, transportation and healthcare rose, while garment and food prices declined, the Directorate-General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics (DGBAS) said yesterday.

Of the seven major consumer product categories, living costs reported the biggest pickup of 1.21 percent, mainly because state-run oil refiner CPC Corp, Taiwan (CPC, 台灣中油) raised prices of natural gas and liquefied natural gas by 15.79 percent this year, DGBAS senior executive officer Jasmine Mei (梅家瑗) told a media briefing.

International oil prices increased by 6.03 percent last month from a year earlier, pushing up transportation and communication charges by 1.05 percent, the report said.

Healthcare expenses saw another 1.89 percent increase after hospitals and clinics raised registration and copayment fees by 4.59 percent in April to discourage waste of medical resources, the report said.

The CPI inched up a marginal 0.09 percent after seasonal adjustments, the report said.

Food costs, usually the main CPI driver, dropped 0.18 percent, dragged by fruit and vegetable price declines, it said.

Core CPI — a more reliable long-term tracker of consumer prices because it excludes volatile items such as vegetables, fruits and energy — increased 0.82 percent last month from a year earlier, it said.

The inflationary gauge rose an average of 0.69 percent in the first nine months of the year, the report said.

The wholesale price index, a measure of commercial production costs, advanced 1.62 percent last month from a year earlier, the report said.

Import prices rose 6.46 percent in US dollar terms, while export prices increased 4.21 percent on the back of higher oil and raw material costs, the report said.

The figures lend support to the nation’s export showings for last month, although they also suggested higher production costs.

The Ministry of Finance is to announce September trade data on Wednesday next week.

For the first nine months, the wholesale price index edged up 0.77 percent, it said.