Consumer prices up 0.43% in August (update)

Taipei, Taiwan's consumer prices moved higher from a year earlier in August, largely due to an increase in vegetable and fruit prices, as well as medical care costs, the Directorate General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics (DGBAS) said Friday.

Data compiled by the DGBAS showed that the local consumer price index (CPI) rose 0.43 percent from a year earlier in August after a 0.38 percent year-on-year increase in July.

On a month-on-month basis, the August CPI nominally fell 0.02 percent and also dropped 0.07 percent after seasonal adjustments, the DGBAS data showed.

The core CPI, which excludes fruits, vegetables and energy, rose 0.39 percent from a year earlier in August.

DGBAS specialist Chiu Shu-chun (???) told the press that consumer prices in Taiwan have been growing in a mild and stable manner.

In August, food prices rose 2.35 percent from a year earlier due to rising prices of vegetables and fruits, which grew 14.56 percent and 3.57 percent, respectively, due to heavy rain caused by a typhoon, the DGBAS said.

However, egg prices continued to move lower by 8.19 percent from a year earlier in August, offsetting the impact from higher vegetable and fruit prices, the DGBAS added.

The DGBAS said medical care expenses rose 0.81 percent from a year earlier due to a hike in hospital registration fees and the higher costs for being hospitalized under the national health insurance scheme.

In that month, expenses in transportation and communications dropped 2.44 percent from a year earlier with air fares, fuel and communication fees down 8.55 percent, 6.75 percent and 4 percent, respectively, 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 only 0.04 percent from a year earlier in August, after a 0.46 percent drop in July.

Chiu said the little changed prices of the 17 government-monitored household necessities provided further evidence of stable consumer prices in Taiwan.

In terms of dining out services for many employees, Chiu said, expenses rose 1.46 percent from a year earlier, the second lowest growth ahead of July's 1.44 percent, since January 2016.

In August, the wholesale price index (WPI) fell 3.44 percent from a year earlier, the steepest fall in 35 months, largely reflecting a drop in prices of chemical products, crude oil, coal, drugs and base metal, the DGBAS said.

It added that the falling WPI came as trade tensions between the United States and China weakened global demand.

The import price index dropped 3.08 percent from a year earlier in August in Taiwan dollar terms and fell 5.18 percent in U.S. dollar terms, while the export price index declined 3.68 percent in Taiwan dollars and also fell 5.77 percent in U.S. dollars, it added.

Chiu said since Washington and Beijing have agreed to resume talks to resolve their trade disputes, it was unnecessary for consumers to become over concerned about deflationary pressure.

In the first eight months of this year, the CPI grew 0.53 percent from a year earlier with the core CPI up 0.45 percent, while the WPI dropped 0.85 percent, the DGBAS said.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel