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Thursday, 21 July 2011

MAS revises inflation forecast to 4-5%

SINGAPORE: The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has revised upwards its headline inflation forecast to between 4 and 5 per cent for 2011.

This was announced at a media briefing to release its latest annual report and is higher from its previous forecast of between 3 and 4 per cent inflation.

MAS said this upward revision comes on the back of higher accommodation costs which were boosted by an unexpected surge in number of tenancy contract renewals at current higher rental rates, as well as private road transport costs as COE premiums rose faster than expected.

MAS said that headline inflation should be seen in perspective, adding that a better measure is core inflation.

MAS said its forecast for core inflation remains unchanged at between 2 and 3 per cent for 2011.

Mr Ravi Menon, managing director at MAS added that MAS is not entirely satisfied with the inflation situation.

Core inflation remains slightly above the historical average of 1.7 per cent.

MAS will continue to keep a close watch on inflationary pressures and developments in key export markets.

MTI and MAS are reviewing Singapore's GDP growth forecast, for now MAS says the 5 to 7 per cent growth remains intact.

However Mr Menon added that if a pick up from the downturn in Q2 is weaker than currently expected, growth could come in at the lower half of the range.

MAS made investment gains of S$12.3 billion but recorded an overall loss of S$10.9 billion, its largest loss in 40 years on the back of a strong Singapore dollar.

MAS said that the current monetary policy stance of appreciating the Singapore dollar nominal effective exchange rate (S$NEER) policy band set in April this year remains appropriate.

The next Monetary Policy Statement is scheduled for October.

Excluding exchange rate effects, MAS achieved income and net capital gains totalling S$12.3 billion during the financial year ended March 2011.

- CNA/cc

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