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Consumer price growth hits over 8-year high in May

2021-06-10
Focus Taiwan
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A spike in the price of such foods as vegetables and fruit pushes up the consumer price index.
A spike in the price of such foods as vegetables and fruit pushes up the consumer price index.

Taipei, June 8 (CNA) Consumer price growth in Taiwan in May hit the highest level in more than eight years from a relatively low baseline over the same period of last year, when the COVID-19 pandemic battered the global economy, the Directorate General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics (DGBAS) said Tuesday.

According to data released by the DGBAS, a significant year-on-year increase in fuel prices and travel expenses as well as a spike in the price of such foods as vegetables and fruit pushed up the consumer price index (CPI) by 2.48 percent from a year earlier in May, the highest level since February 2013, when the CPI rose 2.97 percent.

On a month-on-month basis, the CPI rose 0.26 percent, and after seasonal adjustment, the index also increased 0.27 percent, the DGBAS said.

In May, the core CPI, which excludes vegetables, fruit and energy, rose 1.58 percent from a year earlier, the data showed.

Despite the over eight-year high for the CPI in May, Tsao Chih-hung said there are no concerns over inflation in Taiwan as the price spike largely reflects a low comparison base over the same period of 2020, when consumer prices fell 1.21 percent from a year earlier in the wake of the spread of COVID-19 worldwide.

The latest CPI growth also comes at a time when many vendors were reluctant to cut prices locally with international raw material prices moving higher, Tsao said.

In May, prices in the transportation and communications sector rose 9.50 percent from a year earlier with fuel pries soaring 43.92 percent and air ticket prices jumping 34.60 percent year-on-year, the DGBAS said.

Food prices also moved higher by 1.69 percent from a year earlier in May with the price of vegetables, fruit, eggs and meat up 7.49 percent, 4.60 percent, 4.60 percent and 1.41 percent, respectively, year-on-year, the DGBAS added.

The cost of a basket of 17 government-monitored household necessities, including rice, pork, bread, eggs, sugar, cooking oil, instant noodles, shampoo and toilet paper, rose 1.33 percent in May from a year earlier, the DGBAS said.

Among those items, instant noodle prices for May rose 2.72 percent from a year earlier, the highest grow since March 2017, while cooking oil prices soared 6.11 percent, the highest increase since May 2020, Tsao said.

At the same time, the wholesale price index (WPI) surged 11.33 percent from a year earlier in May, largely reflecting an increase in the price of oil and coal products, chemical materials, drugs and base metals, the DGBAS said.

The import price index rose 13.24 percent in May from a year earlier in Taiwan dollar terms and gained 21.47 percent in U.S. dollar terms, while the export price index grew 6.95 percent in Taiwan dollar terms and added 14.72 percent in U.S. dollar terms, the data indicated.

In the first five months of the year, the local CPI rose 1.39 percent from a year earlier, with core CPI up 1.13 percent, while the WPI rose 4.79 percent year-on-year, the DGBAS said.

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