Singapore consumer inflation seen at 4-year low in February

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Singapore's consumer price index (CPI) likely rose 1.0 per cent in February from a year earlier, the lowest increase in four years, a Reuters poll showed on Thursday, helped by falls in the prices of car permits compared to peaks hit in early 2013.

The slowdown in consumer inflation is expected to be temporary, however, and is unlikely to alter market expectations that the Monetary Authority of Singapore will stick to its stance of allowing a "modest and gradual" appreciation of the Singapore dollar at its policy review due in April.

The median forecast of 12 economists polled by Reuters showed that consumer inflation likely slowed to 1.0 per cent year-on-year in February, matching a level last seen in February 2010 and down from 1.4 per cent in January.

But it is seen likely to head higher in coming months as a negative base effect from comparisons to the higher transportation-related costs seen in early 2013 starts to wear off.

Core consumer inflation, which excludes changes in the prices of cars and accommodation, was seen likely to remain close to a one-year high set in January.

The Reuters survey showed that core CPI likely rose 2.1 per cent in February from a year ago.

In January core CPI rose 2.2 percent year-on-year, matching a level last seen in October 2012.