The consumer price index (CPI) last month gained 3.36 percent from a year earlier, driven by drastic food and electricity price hikes, although the overall inflationary reading slowed from one month earlier, the Directorate-General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics (DGBAS) said yesterday.
It is the fifth consecutive month that the annual rise has been above 3 percent, although the gain was down from June as global oil prices dropped below US$100 per barrel amid mounting recession fears.
Food prices, the largest chunk of the index’s composition, had the biggest gain at 7.18 percent as suppliers passed higher costs on to customers, the agency said in its monthly report.
Meat prices swelled 31.92 percent year-on-year, while fruit prices spiked 29.47 percent, induced partly by unfavorable weather conditions, said DGBAS official Tsao Chih-hung (曹志弘), who last month predicted that the pace of inflation would ease last month, although it remained above 3 percent.
Fishery product prices rose 6.76 percent, while dining costs increased 6.74 percent, the report said.
The cost of living category was the No. 2 inflation driver with a 3.03 percent gain from a year earlier, Taso said, adding that seasonal summer electricity rates and adjustments for heavy users of electricity were the top drivers of the uptick.
Rent, household products and home repair also became more expensive, the report said.
Transportation and communications costs, a principal driver of inflation this year, expanded a modest 2.95 percent after oil product prices, airplane tickets and vehicle prices increased by mid-single-digit percentage points after double-digit gains in the past few months, it said.
Demand for crude oil has weakened as GDP growth in major economies lost significant momentum following aggressive interest rate hikes by major central banks.
Core CPI, a more reliable price tracker because it excludes volatile items, rose 2.73 percent, still well above the 2 percent that the central bank says is acceptable, the report said.
The wholesale price index (WPI), a measure of commercial production costs, increased 13.11 percent, decelerating from a 16.32 percent gain, suggesting that corporations would remain under margin pressure until inventory corrections end, the DGBAS said.
Inflation pressure is more evident for imported goods, which had a 17.42 percent price increase, than for exports, which increased 12.72 percent, it said.
In the first seven months of the year, CPI grew 3.17 percent, while WPI expanded 14.25 percent, it said.
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