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Financial News: Singapore Inflation Eases Unexpectedly To 2.9%, Lowest In

Singapore Inflation Eases Unexpectedly To 2.9%, Lowest In 28 Months

02/23/2024 - 02:08:00 (RTTNews)

(RTTNews) - Singapore's consumer price inflation softened unexpectedly in January to the lowest level in more than two years amid a slowdown in accommodation and private transport charges, data published by the Monetary Authority of Singapore and the Ministry of Trade and Industry showed on Friday.

The consumer price index, or CPI, climbed 2.9 percent year-over-year in January, slower than the 3.7 percent increase in the previous month. In contrast, economists had expected inflation to rise slightly to 3.8 percent.

Further, this was the weakest inflation rate since September 2021, when prices had risen 2.5 percent.

Data showed that MAS core inflation also moderated to 3.1 percent from 3.3 percent. The downward trend in core inflation was driven by lower services and food inflation despite the increase in the GST rate from 8 percent to 9 percent in January.

Month-on-month, the total CPI decreased 0.7 percent in January versus a 0.4 percent rebound in December. Core consumer prices rose 0.6 percent, due in part to the 1 percent GST rate increase.

Among the main categories, accommodation inflation slowed notably to 2.1 percent from 4.1 percent. Similarly, costs for private transport grew at a weaker annual rate of 2.9 percent in January after a 5.0 percent rise in December. Food inflation softened somewhat to 3.3 percent from 3.7 percent.

Core inflation is expected to pick up in February, reflecting the effects of the Lunar New Year, the MAS said. Thereafter, core inflation should resume a gradual moderating trend over the rest of the year as import cost pressures continue to decline and tightness in the domestic labor market eases.

For 2024 as a whole, both headline and core inflation are projected to average 2.5-3.5 percent.

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