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Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Singapore inflation rises to 4.7% in September

SINGAPORE: Singapore's inflation rate accelerated last month, driven again by housing and transport costs.

Data from the Department of Statistics showed the Consumer Price Index (CPI) in September rose 4.7 percent from the same month a year ago.
That's up from 3.9% in August, which was the lowest rate in almost two years.
September's inflation rate marks a reversal of price moderations experienced over the last three months.

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) said the pick-up in September was anticipated given the surge in COE prices the previous month.

COE premiums rose 40% on-year to a record average high of S$83,600, pushing private transport costs up 10.8 percent year-on-year following a 6.3 percent increase in August.

Alvin Liew, UOB's senior economist, said: "Currently (inflation is) at 4.7 per cent, I believe that if transport costs or the COE premiums were to spike in some of the months (ahead), it won't be too surprising to see our inflation rate for some of the months going up above 5% again."

Housing cost inflation in September jumped by 7.7 percent from a year earlier, compared with a 7.4 percent rise in the previous month.

Analysts say that while housing and transport costs remain a concern, the increasing price of services, particularly healthcare and education, should also be watched.

Mr Leon Perera, CEO of Spire Research and Consulting, said: "In the area of healthcare, due to the medical treatment component, there has been a significant price spike in September...that is more than the trend line in the year as a whole, and in education, to a lesser extent, that is the case as well."

Services inflation inched up to 3 percent in September against a 2.7 percent rise in August, reflecting a stronger pickup in the cost of holiday travel and household services.

Meanwhile, food price inflation eased slightly to 2.1 percent in September, down from a 2.3 percent increase in August.

Analysts say September's elevated inflation rate justifies the MAS' decision last month to leave intact its policy of a modest and gradual appreciation of the Singapore dollar to help dampen inflation.

- CNA/fa/ir

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