Singapore: Inflation ticks up in March, but core inflation hits a near one-year low
April 23, 2019
Consumer prices decreased 0.1% over the previous month in March, contrasting the 0.5% uptick recorded in February. According to data released by Statistics Singapore, the fall was primarily caused by lower prices for housing and utilities; and recreation and culture.
Inflation accelerated to 0.6% in March, up from February’s 0.5% and matching market analysts’ expectations. Meanwhile, annual average inflation was unchanged at 0.5% in March.
In contrast, the Monetary Authority of Singapore’s (MAS) core inflation measure, which omits the costs of accommodation and private road transport, ticked down to 1.4% in March from 1.5% in the prior month. The reading marked an 11-month low and also fell below market analysts’ expectations of 1.7%.
Ongoing soft price pressures in March come despite a tight labor market and the recent recovery in global oil prices, as the launch of the Open Electricity Market (OEM) has depressed electricity prices. Looking ahead, inflation is expected to pick up slightly but remain mild, dampened by the impact of the OEM, mild economic growth and MAS policy tightening last year.
Author: Steven Burke, Economist