Taiwan’s CPI grows 1.26% in March year-on-year

Taipei-Taiwan’s consumer price index (CPI) rose 1.26 percent in March year-on-year, due mainly to price increases in food, clothing, fuel and plane tickets, a cabinet-level agency reported on Thursday.

Of the seven major categories that make up the CPI, travel/ communications posted the largest increase of 5.05 percent in March on an annual basis, mainly caused by a nearly 25 percent surge in the price of plane tickets, the Directorate-General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics (DGBAS) said.

Other factors accounting for the CPI increase in March included price rises in clothing, housing and entertainment spending, which were up by 2.04 percent. 0.7 percent and 0.69 percent, respectively, according to the agency.

In terms of food, the price of eggs and meat rose by 3.16 percent and 2.98 percent, respectively, year-on-year, despite a 4.55 percent fall in the price of fruit which offset some of the increase, the DGBAS said.

The price of rice, one of Taiwan’s main staples, climbed by 4.77 percent last month, the sharpest increase in 61 months, giving rise to public concern over the adequacy of domestic supplies.

“Local rice supply is absolutely fine and rice price hikes have nothing to do with the current drought in some parts of Taiwan,” said Tsao Chih-hung (???), an official in the DGBAS’s Department of Planning, attributing the rise to fewer promotional activities focused on the staple this year.

Compared with February, the March CPI edged down 0.59 percent owing to the falling price of hotel accommodation and domestic group tours after the Lunar New Year holiday, which fell in February.

Over the January-March period, the CPI averaged an increase of 0.82 percent compared with the same period of the previous year.

Core CPI, which excludes the price of fruit, vegetables and energy, climbed 1.07 percent in March from a year earlier, indicating that consumer prices remain stable, the DGBAS said.

The producer price index rose 1.88 percent month-on-month, thanks to price hikes in chemical materials/products, medicine, basic metals as well as those in petroleum/coal products.

At the same time, the wholesale price index (WPI) was up by 4.36 percent in March compared with the same month of 2020, ending a 22-month falling streak, it added.

As to whether the hike in the WPI could cause price increases in consumer products, the DGBAS said it will not be possible to make an accurate judgement until at least the third quarter.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel