Consumer prices up over 1% in December

Taipei-Taiwan's consumer prices grew more than 1 percent from a year earlier in December, largely on the back of an increase in fruit and vegetable prices during the month, government data showed Tuesday.

Figures compiled by the Directorate General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics (DGBAS) showed that December's consumer price index (CPI) rose 1.13 percent from a year earlier, beating a 0.59 percent year-on-year increase in November.

The December CPI also hit a new high not seen since October 2018, when the growth stood at 1.16 percent, according to the DGBAS.

However, after excluding fruit, vegetables and energy, the core CPI rose only 0.57 percent, indicating that local consumer prices still grew in a stable manner, the DGBAS said.

For 2019, Taiwan's CPI grew 0.56 percent from a year earlier, with the core CPI up 0.50 percent from a year earlier.

In December, food prices rose 2.97 percent from a year earlier, with prices of vegetables and fruit up 21.97 percent and 13.01 percent, respectively, from a year earlier, due to a relatively low comparison base over the same period of 2018, when the weather conditions were good for fruit and vegetable cultivation, the DGBAS said.

Egg prices, on the other hand, fell 14.11 percent from a year earlier in December, which offset the food price growth to some extent, the DGBAS added.

The DGBAS said medical care expenses rose 1.01 percent from a year earlier as hospital registration fees and hospitalization costs moved higher in December, while education/entertainment spending grew 1.12 percent, with tourism costs going higher in the month.

Transportation and communication costs, however, fell 0.31 percent due to a 6.82 percent drop in communication costs, but a 4.33 percent hike in fuel prices capped the downturn, according to the DGBAS.

The cost of a basket of 17 government-monitored household necessities, including rice, pork, bread, eggs, sugar, cooking oil, shampoo and toilet paper, fell 95 percent in December from a year earlier, after a 0.78 percent drop in November, the DGBAS said.

The December fall was the steepest monthly drop in 10 years, it said.

The wholesale price index (WPI) declined 3.42 percent, largely reflecting a drop in the prices of chemical products, drugs, base metals and electronic components, the DGBAS data showed.

The import price index dropped 2.30 percent in December from a year earlier in Taiwan dollar terms and fell 0.53 percent in U.S. dollar terms, the figures showed.

The export price index declined 5.22 percent in Taiwan dollar terms and dropped 3.50 percent in U.S. dollar terms, the data indicated.

For the whole of 2019, the WPI fell 2.24 percent year-on-year, the DGBAS data showed.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel