The consumer price index (CPI) last month climbed 1.37 percent year-on-year as prices in all categories rose during the Lunar New Year holiday, the Directorate-General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics (DGBAS) said yesterday.
The index climbed to its highest level in a year and reversed a 0.6 percent decline in January, attributable mainly to the week-long holiday, when babysitting wages and travel expenses rose conspicuously, the agency said.
The inflationary gauge could rise further this month and beyond to reflect higher international fuel and raw material prices, DGBAS official Tsao Chih-hung (曹志弘) told a news conference in Taipei.
However, consumer prices remained stable, the agency said, adding that the CPI declined 0.8 percent after seasonal adjustments and the average CPI for the first two months of this year rose only a mild 0.59 percent.
Of the categories, costs of miscellaneous items posted the biggest advance of 2.84 percent, as barber shops doubled their prices during the holiday, the agency said.
Transportation and communication prices, a consistent drag in the past few years due to cheaper oil prices, rose 2.31 percent after airlines raised their fares by 23.41 percent, it said.
Educational and entertainment costs grew 1.88 percent, while clothing prices rose 1.52 percent, the agency said, adding that the increase was caused by bigger discounts being offered a year earlier.
Food costs grew 0.24 percent, as prices of eggs and meat rose 4.89 percent and 3.99 percent respectively, offsetting cheaper fruit prices, it said.
Core CPI, a more reliable long-term consumer price monitor because it excludes volatile items, advanced 1.63 percent year-on-year, the agency said.
The wholesale price index, a measure of production costs, contracted 0.35 percent as declines in fuel and raw material prices significantly slowed, it said.
The new producer price index (PPI), which measures the cost of goods at the factory gate, increased 0.84 percent from a month earlier as firms passed their cost burdens on to consumers, the agency said.
The PPI in the first two months declined 1.24 percent year-on-year, it said.
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