Singapore March CPI Rose 0.7% on Year; Slightly Below Poll Forecast -- Update

By Gaurav Raghuvanshi Features Dow Jones Newswires

Singapore's consumer prices rose at a slower-than-expected pace in March as gains in transport costs were offset by falling housing and utilities charges.

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The consumer price index rose 0.7% year-on-year last month, according to official data released Monday. This compares with the median estimate for a 0.8% rise in a poll of five economists by The Wall Street Journal, and a 0.7% rise in February.

The cost of transportation, which has an index weighting of 15.8%, gained 4.5% in March from a year earlier. The gain in private road transportation costs, however, eased to 6.9% on year in March from 7.1% in February as the faster pace of increase in car prices was offset by a smaller gain in gasoline prices.

Housing and utilities costs, which make up 26.3% of the index, fell 3.2% as the home rental market continued to soften.

Food prices, which have a 21.7% weighting in the index, rose 1.3% from a year ago, the same pace as in February, after prices of restaurant meals rose but noncooked food items became more inexpensive.

The central bank's core inflation rate, which strips out private road transport and accommodation costs, was 1.2% in March, the same as in February, as prices of most items remained steady. The poll had predicted the core inflation measure to edge higher to 1.3%.

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External inflationary pressures have picked up against the backdrop of a turnaround in global commodity prices and higher crude-oil prices, the Monetary Authority of Singapore and the Ministry of Trade and Industry said in a joint statement.

However, domestic sources of inflation remain relatively muted, according to the statement.

Write to Gaurav Raghuvanshi at gaurav.raghuvanshi@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

April 24, 2017 02:05 ET (06:05 GMT)