The consumer price index (CPI) last month rose 1.26 percent, as costs in all categories gained traction, with airfares and fuel prices increasing by double-digit percentage points, the Directorate-General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics (DGBAS) said yesterday.
The index remains stable and price hikes are limited to some items alone, the agency said.
Price increases in fuel and raw materials underpinned the increase in the inflationary gauge, which contracted 0.59 percent, compared with one month earlier, DGBAS official Tsao Chih-hung (曹志弘) told a news conference in Taipei.
Core CPI, a more reliable long-term price tracker because it excludes volatile items, rose 1.07 percent, suggesting inflation risks are benign, Tsao said, adding that the index value after seasonal adjustments was a 0.34 percent increase.
Transportation and communication prices, a consistent drag in the past few years due to cheaper oil prices, advanced 5.05 percent, driven by a 25 percent increase in airplane tickets and a 17.08 percent gain in fuel prices, the agency’s monthly survey found, adding that the 8.79 percent decline in communication device prices helped subdue the hike.
Clothing prices grew 2.04 percent, as retailers offered smaller discounts, Tsao said.
Similarly, educational and entertainment costs rose 0.69 percent as the low-base effect linked to the COVID-19 pandemic tapered off.
Hotels and travel agencies continued to provide discounts, but the pace decreased, thanks to a sustained boom in domestic tourism.
Food costs grew 0.52 percent, as prices of eggs and meat rose 3.16 percent and 2.98 percent respectively, more than canceling a 4.55 percent drop in fruit prices, it said.
Tsao dismissed links between a water shortage and a 4.77 percent rise in rice prices to a 61-month high, saying that a low base last year accounted for the upswing and the government keeps an inventory that can feed the nation for eight months.
CPI readings moving forward hinge on international raw material price trends, while rubber, corn and sugar prices retreated, Tsao said, refusing to speculate on future movements.
The wholesale price index (WPI), a measure of commercial production costs, advanced 4.36 percent, ending 22 months of declines, as crude oil prices spiked 32.81 percent, Tsao said.
Prices for metal, chemical and plastic products all picked up on the back of improving demand, the agency found.
For the first quarter, CPI gained 0.82 percent, while WPI increased 0.69 percent, it said.
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