Consumer Price Index falls 0.05% in December

Taipei, Taiwan's consumer prices fell 0.05 percent from a year earlier in December on the back of cheaper fruit and vegetables, while a fall in the cost of clothing, consumer electronic devices and communications was also cited as a reason for the decline, government statistics showed Tuesday.

According to the data compiled by the Directorate General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics (DGBAS), the local consumer price index (CPI) saw the first year-on-year drop since October 2017, when it lost 0.33 percent from a year earlier.

Month to month the CPI fell 0.50 percent and after seasonal adjustments, the figure was also down 0.29 percent, the DGBAS said.

Core CPI, which excludes fruit, vegetables and energy, rose 0.52 percent from a year earlier in December, the DGBAS added.

In 2018, the CPI rose 1.35 percent from a year earlier with core CPI up 1.22 percent.

In addition to a fall in food prices, the plunge in international crude oil prices also pushed down the CPI in December, DGBAS specialist Hsu Chien-chung said.

As such, the negative growth in the December CPI was also the result of external factors, like falling crude prices, and local consumer prices remained stable, Hsu said, adding that the December CPI represented just one month.

The figures for 2018 as a whole indicate local consumer prices also are steady, Hsu said.

In December, food prices fell 0.61 percent from a year earlier with the price of fruit and vegetables down 26.04 percent and 6.79 percent, respectively, while the price of eggs rebounded 32.24 percent from a year earlier amid the diminishing impact of the scare over fipronil, the data showed.

Clothing prices dropped 1.17 percent from a year earlier in December with ready-to-wear items down 1.65 percent on the back of promotional campaigns launched by vendors, the data indicated.

Transportation and communications expenses fell 1.02 percent from a year earlier in December as metro system fares and mobile communication expenses dropped 9.68 percent and 5.96 percent, respectively, according to the DGBAS.

Bucking the downturn of the December CPI, the cost of miscellaneous items rose 0.97 percent from a year earlier with tobacco prices up 3.21 percent on higher taxes, the DGBAS said.

The cost of a basket of 17 government-monitored household necessities, including rice, pork, bread, eggs, sugar, cooking oil, shampoo and toilet paper, rose 2.99 percent in December from a year earlier, following a 2.08 percent increase in November.

The wholesale price index (WPI) rose 0.83 percent from a year earlier in December, reflecting a fall in the price of chemical and agricultural products and drug prices, the DGBAS said.

The import price index climbed 2.34 percent from a year earlier in December in Taiwan dollar terms, but fell 0.49 percent in U.S. dollar terms, while the export price index gained 0.49 percent in Taiwan dollars but fell 2.27 percent in U.S. dollars, it added.

In 2018, the WPI rose 3.64 percent from a year earlier, the DGBAS said.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel