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Friday, 23 March 2012

Singapore's inflation rate eases to 4.6% in February

SINGAPORE: Singapore's inflation rate eased to 4.6 per cent on-year in February 2012, from 4.8 per cent the previous month.

The rise in the consumer price index is well below the 4.9 per cent predicted by economists.

Data from the Department of Statistics (DOS) showed food inflation moderated to 2.6 per cent in February, from 3.8 per cent January.

The Monetary Authority of Singapore attributed the lower food inflation rate to a seasonal decline in non-cooked food prices following the Lunar New Year in January.

Compared to January, overall consumer prices fell 0.3 per cent in February, including a 1.4 per cent slide in transport costs.

The MAS' measure of core inflation, which excludes accommodation and private road transport, eased to 3.0 per cent in February compared to a year earlier, down from 3.5 per cent in January.

However, analysts said the slower rise in prices might be short-lived. Economists at Credit Suisse said the government might even need to raise its annual inflation forecast later this year.

In a statement, the MAS said "inflationary pressures since late last year have been more persistent than expected."

"Both CPI-all items inflation and MAS core inflation will remain elevated over the next few months, at around 5 per cent and 3 per cent year-on-year, respectively, before moderating gradually," it said.

The DOS figures showed housing costs continued to gallop higher in February, rising 9.5 per cent from a year earlier.

- CNA/al

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