Singapore: Inflation hits 13-month high in February
Consumer prices increased 0.57% over the previous month in February, contrasting the 0.03% fall seen in January. February’s uptick was the sharpest increase in prices since August 2020 and was predominantly driven by a sharp rise in housing and utilities prices.
Inflation came in at 0.7% in February, which was up from January’s 0.2% print and marked the highest reading since January 2020. Meanwhile, the trend was unchanged with the annual average variation of consumer prices clocking 0.2% for the third month running in February. Lastly, core inflation rose to 0.2% from January’s minus 0.2%.
Commenting on the outlook for inflation in 2021, Barnabas Gan, economist at United Overseas Bank, sees higher albeit restrained inflationary pressures ahead:
“The balance of risk for inflation in 2021 is tilted to the upside on the back of the reflation environment–defined as the return to global economic growth after the Covid-19-induced recession in 2020. On the flip side, the uncertainties surrounding Covid-19 and the negative impact it has on economic growth could cap price pressures. Covid-19 infections across Singapore’s key trading partners may continue to cap import price pressures and inject headwinds to overall external inflation. On the domestic front, the continued slack in Singapore’s labour market will likely cap wage pressures as well.”