Inflation hits eight-month high

CONSUMER prices in Singapore surged more than expected last month, mainly due to a significant rise in private transport costs as COE premiums spiked.

Overall inflation rose by 4.9 per cent in February from a year ago, a sharp increase from January's 3.6 per cent rise, according to the Department of Statistics.

Economists had expected a 4.1 per cent surge, according to a Reuters poll.

Private road transport cost jumped by 17.4 per cent in February, up from 10.5 per cent a month earlier. The surge in private road transport costs alone accounted for more than two thirds of the 1.3 percentage points rise in overall inflation in February.

Core inflation, which excludes all accommodation costs and private road transport prices, rose to 1.9 per cent last month from 1.2 per cent in January.

The Monetary Authority of Singapore kept its full-year inflation forecast for 2013 at between 3.5 per cent and 4.5 per cent.