Singapore consumer prices decline for 21 straight months with 0.7% drop in July

Shoppers and pedestrians walk along Orchard Road. The consumer price index fell again in July - the 21st straight month of decline.
Shoppers and pedestrians walk along Orchard Road. The consumer price index fell again in July - the 21st straight month of decline.PHOTO: BLOOMBERG

SINGAPORE - The consumer price index, a measure of inflation, fell again in July - the 21st straight month of decline.

This has been the longest stretch of negative inflation seen here since 1977.

Overall consumer prices fell 0.7 per cent last month from July last year, according to data from the Statistics Department released on Tuesday (Aug 23).

The decline was slightly higher than economists' forecasts of a 0.5 per cent decrease and the same as the decline in June.

Private road transport costs, which includes cars, slid 4.4 per cent year-on-year. The cost of fuel and utilities also fell 8.9 per cent compared with the same month a year ago.

However, prices elsewhere in the economy continued to edge upwards.

Food prices rose 2.1 per cent in July compared with the same month a year ago, while the cost of household durables and services also increased 3.2 per cent.

Core inflation, which strips out accommodation and private road transport costs to better gauge everyday expenses, ticked up 1 per cent.

The MAS expects core inflation to pick up gradually over the course of the year, partly because oil prices are expected to be slightly higher in this half of the year compared with the first half.

The disinflationary effects of Budget measures and other one-off programmes will also ease as time goes by. These measures include medical subsidies under the Pioneer Generation Package, the reduction in the concessionary foreign domestic worker levy, as well as the abolition of national examination fees for Singaporeans implemented last year.