Overall inflation eases further to 1.4% in January, but core inflation accelerates to 2.2%

The pace of overall price rises in Singapore eased further last month as the cost of private road transport continued to fall. -- ST FILE PHOTO: ASHLEIGH SIM 
The pace of overall price rises in Singapore eased further last month as the cost of private road transport continued to fall. -- ST FILE PHOTO: ASHLEIGH SIM 

The pace of overall price rises in Singapore eased further last month as the cost of private road transport continued to fall.

Inflation was 1.4 per cent in January, down from 1.5 per cent in December last year, according to data from the Department of Statistics on Monday.

This was largely because transport costs slid 2.7 per cent last month over a year ago, the department's figures showed. In particular, private road transport costs fell 3.5 per cent.

But core inflation, which excludes accommodation and private road transport costs, accelerated to 2.2 per cent in January from 2 per cent in December. This measure of inflation is released by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and is seen as a better gauge of out-of-pocket cash expenses for most households.

The rise in core inflation came as the cost of health care continued to climb, rising 3.9 per cent last month over the previous year. This was after a 3.8 per cent increase in December.

Food was also 3 per cent more expensive last month, boosted by pricier seafood, dairy products, vegetables and fruits. "This mainly reflected the seasonal uptick in food prices during Chinese New Year," said the MAS and Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) in a joint statement on Monday.

Education and stationery costs and recreation and other costs each rose 2.9 per cent last month over the year before. Housing costs climbed 1.8 per cent.

But communication and clothing and footwear costs dipped slightly, by between 0.1 and 0.5 per cent.

"Overall imported inflation is expected to remain subdued because of spare production capacity in the advanced economies and ample supply buffers in the commodity markets," said the MAS and MTI.

"However, the pass-through of domestic costs to prices of consumer services could intensify as firms face rising cost pressures from higher wages."