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Sat, Nov 24, 2007 - Page 10 News List

Inflation rose faster than expected last month in Singapore

AP , SINGAPORE AND BEIJING

Singapore's consumer prices rose at a faster-than-expected rate last month on higher energy and housing costs, the government said yesterday.

The consumer price index rose 3.6 percent from a year ago after rising 2.7 percent in September, the Department of Statistics said in a statement. Economists polled by Dow Jones Newswires had forecast an average increase of 2.9 percent.

Rising rents and higher energy costs have become increasingly apparent in Singapore's inflation data, prompting the central bank to tighten its monetary policy last month in an attempt to control price increases.

Transport expenses were boosted last month by higher prices for gasoline and cars and by an increase in bus fares. Housing costs rose with higher rents and a rise in electricity tariffs.

Food prices were also higher, mainly due to more expensive bread, milk and poultry.

The index gained 1.3 percent in seasonally adjusted terms compared with September, surpassing a forecast of a 0.5 percent rise. In unadjusted terms, the CPI also rose 1.3 percent last month from September.

Meanwhile, China's chief statistics official said that inflation this year would reach 4.5 to 4.6 percent, Xinhua news agency reported yesterday.

National Bureau of Statistics Director Xie Fuzhan (謝伏瞻) made the comment in an appearance on Thursday at Beijing's Tsinghua University, Xinhua said. The forecast was in line with estimates by other officials and private economists.

Last year, China's consumer inflation rate was 2 percent.

Inflation spiked to a monthly rate of 6.5 percent last month, blamed mostly on a rise in food prices due to shortages of some items. But those shortages are expected to end soon as a new crop is harvested, and price rises for other items such as fuel have stayed low.

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