Singapore consumer prices growth eases in April

The authorities say the easing in consumer prices was due to the 6.7 per cent decline in accommodation costs.

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The logo of the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) is pictured at its building in Singapore in this February 21, 2013 file photo. Reuters

Singapore's consumer price index for all items remained lower in April, clocking in at 0.4 per cent compared to 0.7 per cent in March. According to the joint statement by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and the Ministry of Trade and Industry, the easing in consumer prices was due to the 6.7 per cent decline in accommodation costs, falling further from the 4 per cent slump in March.

Meanwhile, actual and imputed rentals declined at the same rate as in the previous month, with the cost of housing maintenance & repairs falling sharply. This is on account of base effects associated with the timing of the disbursement of Service & Conservancy Charges (S&CC) rebates.

The negative contribution of accommodation costs to CPI-All Items inflation was offset by a robust 18.7 per cent increase in the cost of electricity and gas, coming up from the 4.2 per cent growth seen in March. This reflected a steeper uptick in electricity tariffs on the back of higher global oil prices.

Also registering growth is the private road transport inflation, which was up slightly to 7 per cent from 6.9 per cent in March. This is attributable to the faster pace of increase in car and petrol prices.

Services inflation also edged up a little to 1.7 per cent, thanks to the higher telecommunications services fees that followed price declines in March.

Food inflation ended the month secured with 1.3 per cent growth, as the rise in non-cooked food inflation was offset by the smaller increase in the prices of prepared meals.

On the core basis, MAS Core Inflation rose 1.7 per cent, higher than the 1.2 per cent in the previous month. This reflected the stronger pickup in the cost of electricity and gas.

MAS expects core inflation to average 1 per cent to 2 per cent for the whole year, up from 2016's 0.9 per cent. For CPI-All Items inflation, projected growth is at around 0.5 per cent to 1.5 per cent, a significant improvement from a negative growth of 0.5 per cent last year.

"The projected pickup in inflation can be attributed to the positive contribution of energy-related components and the impact of administrative price increases, rather than generalised demand-induced price pressures," MAS said in a statement.