Overall inflation rose to 0.6 per cent in November, core inflation unchanged

Core inflation remained unchanged because a smaller decline in the cost of retail goods offset a lower services inflation. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Core inflation remained at 0.6 per cent last month, unchanged from October's figure - the lowest in more than three years since March 2016.

Headline or overall inflation, however, rose to 0.6 per cent last month, higher than the 0.4 per cent recorded in October, according to figures from the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) on Monday (Dec 23).

The authorities noted that core inflation remained unchanged because a smaller decline in the cost of retail goods offset a lower services inflation.

Core inflation excludes the costs of accommodation and private road transport, which are more affected by government policy and not considered part of Singaporeans' everyday expenses.

Headline inflation rose because of an increase in private road transport inflation and smaller declines in the costs of retail goods and accommodation, even as services inflation eased, MAS and MTI added.

According to a Bloomberg poll, headline inflation rose in accordance with economists' expectations.

But core inflation fell short of their expectations of an increase to 0.7 per cent.

Private road transport inflation rose to 2.3 per cent last month from the 1 per cent in October, compared with the same period last year, reflecting higher petrol prices due to volatility in oil prices and higher Electronic Road Pricing charges.

Accommodation costs dipped by 0.2 per cent in November, easing from the 0.4 per cent drop in October, compared with the same period last year, with the slower decline in as housing rentals.

The cost of retail goods fell by 0.5 per cent in November on a yearly basis, less than the 0.8 per cent drop in October.

Smaller drops in the costs of household durables, and clothing and footwear slowed down the decline of the cost of retail goods, said MAS and MTI.

This was in spite of a fall in the price of personal care products, they added.

The cost of electricity and gas bills dropped by 11.8 per cent last month, less than the 12.5 per cent fall in October.

A slowdown in new take-up rates for the national Open Electricity Market initiative caused the smaller dampening effect.

Food inflation was 1.7 per cent last month, unchanged from October, as a slower pace of increase in the cost of non-cooked food offset a faster pace of increase in the prices of prepared meals.

Services inflation creeped down to 1.1 per cent last month from 1.2 per cent the previous month because of a smaller increase in medical and dental treatment fees.

Telecommunication services costs, however, rose in November after two straight months of decline.

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