Singapore inflation rate edges up to 0.5% in February
ingapore's annual inflation rate inched higher to 0.5 percent in February of 2019 from 0.4 percent in January and matching market expectations, as both housing and food prices fell less than in a month earlier while food inflation remained at its lowest in five months.
Year-on-year, cost fell for housing & utilities (-0.4 percent vs -0.5 percent in January), amid a drop in prices of accommodation (-1.6 percent vs -1.9 percent) and a slowdown in those of fuel and utilities (7.7 percent vs 8.4 percent).
Also, prices dropped for transport (-1.2 percent vs -1.8 percent), namely private road transport (-2.3 percent vs -3.4 percent); and communications (-2.4 percent vs -2.9 percent).
Meantime, cost slowed for: clothing & footwear (1.2 percent vs 2.5 percent); recreation & culture (0.7 percent vs 0.9 percent); education (2.7 percent vs 3.2 percent); miscellaneous goods & services (1.3 percent vs 1.4 percent).
On the other hand, household durables & services prices went up faster (0.8 percent vs 0.7 percent).
At the same time, food inflation stood at 1.4 percent, remained at its lowest in five months.
Among food excluding food servicing services, cost rose for: bread & cereals (2.5 percent vs 1.5 percent); milk, cheese & eggs (1.3 percent vs 1.6 percent); oils & fats (3.2 percent vs 2.5 percent); fruits (3.7 percent vs 2.7 percent); sugar, preserves & confectionery (0.7 percent vs 1.1 percent); and non-alcoholic beverages (2.3 percent vs 2.1 percent).
On the other hand, prices declined for both meat (-0.2 percent vs -0.3 percent) and fish & seafood (-1.3 percent vs 3.3 percent) while vegetables prices were unchanged (vs -2.7 percent).
Among food servicing services, the biggest price increase was recorded for catered food (4.1 percent vs 3.4 percent); followed by hawker food including food courts (1.7 percent vs 1.5 percent); restaurant food (1.5 percent, the same as in January), and fast food (1.2 percent after a flat reading in January ). Also, inflation was steady for healthcare (at 1.7 percent).
Annual core inflation, which exclude costs of accommodation and private road transport, edged down to 1.5 percent in February from 1.7 percent in January, below market expectations of 1.7 percent and marking the lowest annual core inflation in nine months,
On a month-on-month basis, consumer prices increased 0.5 percent in February, reversing from a 0.3 percent fall in January, the highest monthly inflation since May last year.
For 2019, the central bank and trade ministry expects Singapore inflation within 0.5-1.5 percent target range. ■