Singapore: Inflation ticks up in February, but core inflation falls
March 25, 2019
Consumer prices increased 0.5% over the previous month in February, contrasting the 0.3% decline recorded in January. According to data released by Statistics Singapore, the rise was primarily caused by higher prices for housing and utilities; and recreation and culture.
Inflation accelerated to 0.5% in February, up from January’s 0.4% and in line with market analysts’ expectations. Meanwhile, annual average inflation was unchanged at 0.5% in February.
In contrast, the Monetary Authority of Singapore’s (MAS) core inflation measure, which omits the costs of accommodation and private road transport, fell to 1.5% in February from 1.7% in January. The reading marked a nine-month low and also fell below market analysts’ expectations of 1.7%.
Commenting on February’s inflation report, Khoon Goh, an economist at ANZ, noted:
“The lower than expected MAS Core Inflation print […] cements the case for a pause at the upcoming MAS April review, in our view. Alongside economic growth slowing towards trend and the US Federal Reserve signalling a pause in their hiking cycle, there is no pressing need for the MAS to further tighten policy at this stage. While a tight labour market could still see inflation pressures emerge, this is not evident, especially in the costs of services. Lower prices for electricity and gas in the coming quarter look set to keep core inflation manageable.”
Author: Steven Burke, Economist