Malaysia Oct CPI +3.7% on Year; +4.0% Expected

By Yantoultra Ngui Features Dow Jones Newswires

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia--Malaysia's inflation rate slowed more-than-expected in October, as costs of transport softened.

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The consumer-price index rose 3.7% from a year earlier, the Department of Statistics said Friday, compared with a 4.3% year-over-year increase in September. The figure was lower than the 4.0% rise expected in a poll of nine economists by The Wall Street Journal.

Compared with the month before, the CPI declined 0.2% after seasonal adjustment, the data showed.

Core inflation rose 2.3% in October compared with the same month last year.

October's inflation was mainly driven by higher year-over-year costs for transportation, food and non-alcoholic beverages, according to the statistics department.

The softer-than-expected inflation should provide Malaysia's central bank more leeway and time to review its monetary stance for next year.

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Bank Negara Malaysia appeared hawkish and signaled the possibility of rate increase next year in its policy statement released earlier this month after leaving the key benchmark interest rate unchanged at 3.00%. That as economic growth in the Southeast Asian nation has been growing at a faster-than-expected pace in the first three quarters of this year, driven by robust domestic demand and positive external sector.

Data released last Friday showed Malaysia's gross domestic product grew 6.2% on-year in the third quarter ended September, the fastest pace in over three years.

Bank Negara Malaysia Governor Muhammad Ibrahim had said that inflation is expected to likely to stay in the upper end of the official forecast of 3%-4% for this year.

-Write to Yantoultra Ngui at yantoultra.ngui@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

November 23, 2017 23:15 ET (04:15 GMT)