Singapore’s consumer prices stayed flat in January, for the first time since late 2016, data from the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) and the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) released on Friday.
The Consumer Price Index inflation indicated a drop to 0 percent, which is below from 0.4 inflation rate increase for the last month of 2017 as well as below economist forecast of a 0.4 percent growth.
The authorities attributed the flat CPI inflation mainly to lower accommodation and private road transport inflation.
The MAS Core Inflation, which excludes the cost of accommodation and private road transport, increased 1.4 percent in January from 1.3 percent in December.
Accommodation costs in January dipped 5.3 percent, after declining 3.8 percent in December, as Service & Conservancy Charges (S&CC) rebates were distributed to HDB households in January this year, but not in the similar month last year.
Private road transport inflation eased to 1.6 percent in January from 2.6 percent in December 2017, due to lower car prices and a drop in Certificate of Entitlement (COE) premiums. Similarly, the food inflation moderated to 1.1 percent from 1.4 percent, largely on account of moderation in price increases for non-cooked food products. The price of prepared meals also increased at a little slower pace compared to the previous month.
Services inflation remained at 1.3 percent in January. A little drop in the public and transport cost, together with bigger increases in education and recreational & cultural services fees, counterweighted a decline in telecommunications services and a sharper fall in airfares.
According to the Monetary Authority of Singapore and the Ministry of Trade and Industry, the inflation is likely to increase slightly, as global demand rises amid adequate supply in main commodity markets. Global oil prices are also anticipated to rise mildly in 2018 as compared to 2017.
“Overall, cost pressures in the economy should remain relatively restrained. Although labor market conditions have improved recently, the gradual absorption of previously accumulated slack will temper wage pressures in the near term. Meanwhile, other non-labor costs such as commercial and retail rentals continue to be subdued,” they said in a joint statement.
The data released showed MAS core inflation is expected to remain in the range of 1 to 2 percent in 2018, while Singapore’s CPI inflation is likely to be in 0 to 1 percent this year.
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