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Singapore's core inflation rises to 3.6% in May, highest since 2008


SINGAPORE: Singapore’s core inflation in May rose to its highest since 2008, led by rising prices of food and utilities.

Core inflation, which excludes accommodation and private transport costs, came in at 3.6 year-on-year in May, up from a previous 10-year high of 3.3 per cent in April, official data released on Thursday (Jun 23) showed.

The headline consumer price index, or overall inflation, rose to 5.6 per cent year-on-year in May, exceeding the 5.4 per cent reported in both April and March.


Food inflation hit 4.5 per cent in May compared to 4.1 per cent in April, as the price of food services rose more strongly, said the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) said in a joint media release.

Inflation for retail and other goods also picked up, coming in at 1.8 per cent in May from 1.6 per cent in April, as prices of clothing and footwear, personal effects and personal care products increased.

Electricity and gas prices edged up, with inflation at 19.9 per cent in May compared to 19.7 per cent in April as the average prices of electricity plans offered by Open Electricity Market (OEM) retailers rose at a faster pace, said MAS and MTI.

Services inflation also increased slightly to 2.6 per cent from 2.5 per cent in April, due to a faster pace of increase in the costs of holiday expenses and point-to-point transport services.

Accommodation inflation was also up 0.1 per cent in May at 4 per cent due to a larger increase in housing rents. Private transport inflation rose to 18.5 per cent from 18.3 per cent in April with petrol costs picking up more strongly in the face of higher global oil prices.

MAS and MTI said that external inflationary pressures continue to be strong amid elevated global commodity prices, as well as ongoing supply chain frictions driven by both the Russia-Ukraine conflict and the regional COVID-19 situation.

“In the near term, heightened geopolitical risks and tight supply conditions will keep crude oil prices elevated,” they added.

“Prices of other commodities, such as food, are also expected to stay high amid supply-demand mismatches, as well as disruptions to global transportation and regional supply chains.”

On the domestic front, the labour market is expected to “remain tight, which will support a firm pace of wage increases”.

“Alongside improving demand, a greater pass-through of accumulating business costs to consumer prices is likely to occur, thus keeping core inflation significantly above its historical average through the year,” MAS and MTI said.

Core inflation is forecast to pick up further in the coming months, MAS and MTI said, although it is expected to moderate towards the end of the year as “some of the external inflationary pressures recede”.

However, they cautioned that upside risks remain from geopolitical and pandemic-related shocks.

“With private transport and accommodation inflation expected to stay firm in the near term, headline inflation will pick up by more than core inflation this year,” MAS and MTI added.

For the year as a whole, headline inflation is forecast to come in at between 4.5 per cent and 5.5 per cent, while core inflation is projected to average between 2.5 per cent and 3.5 per cent.

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