Taiwan’s consumer price index rose 0.25 percent year-on-year to 106.92 in February, pushed up by the higher cost of apparel and food products, according to the directorate-General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics March 5.
The latest DGBAS statistics show that despite a 27.91-percent spike in vegetable prices caused by persistent rain, an inflated comparison base from last year due to the Lunar New Year holiday helped keep the CPI in check.
“Steady drops in the price of consumer electronics, fruit and telecommunication services also contributed to the marginal increase,” said Wang Shu-chuan, section chief of the DGBAS Department of Statistics.
For the first two months of the year, Taiwan’s CPI gained 1.31 percent compared to the same period 12 months ago. “The figure is a more accurate representation of Taiwan’s consumer price movement as it excludes the seasonal effect,” she said.
Wang said the rise is particularly mild in comparison with Hong Kong at 6.1 percent, Singapore 4.8 percent, South Korea 3.2 percent and mainland China 4.5 percent.
Although Taiwan’s consumer prices look set to remain on a moderate growth track, the DGBAS official warned of possible short-term volatilities following the outbreak of H5N2 avian flu strain earlier this month.
“Prior to the event, egg prices had risen 14.27 percent since January,” Wang said. “We expect to see the cost of local poultry drop as a result of a three-month export ban imposed by the government and weaker local demand.”
Despite market uncertainty triggered by the outbreak, the DGBAS left its CPI forecast for 2012 unchanged at 1.46 percent.