Core inflation at 13-year high

Core consumer prices in Singapore surged at the fastest rate in more than 13 years last month, led by the rising costs of food, electricity and gas.

Core inflation - which excludes accommodation and private transport costs - jumped to 3.6 per cent in May on a year-on-year basis, up from 3.3 per cent in April.

May's inflation is in line with the 3.6 per cent rise forecast by economists in a Bloomberg poll. It is also the highest since December 2008, when core inflation hit 4.2 per cent.

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) said on Thursday that core inflation is expected to pick up further in the coming months, before moderating towards the end of the year.

For May, overall consumer prices climbed 5.6 per cent last month, compared to the 5.4 per cent increase in April. Food inflation hit 4.5 per cent in May, up from 4.1 per cent in April, as the price of food services rose more strongly.

Electricity and gas prices surged, by 19.9 per cent in May year on year, up from the 19.7 per cent rise in April, as the average prices of electricity plans offered by retailers rose at a faster pace.

Services inflation edged up to 2.6 per cent from 2.5 per cent in April as the costs of holiday expenses and point-to-point transport services rose at a faster pace.

Retail and other goods inflation came in higher at 1.8 per cent because of a steeper increase in the prices of clothing and footwear, personal effects and personal care products.

Contributing to the rise in overall consumer inflation, accommodation inflation rose to 4 per cent, up from 3.9 per cent rise in April, on the back of a larger increase in housing rents.

Private transport inflation rose to 18.5 per cent, higher than April's 18.3 per cent, as petrol costs picked up more strongly amid higher global oil prices.

MAS and MTI said that core inflation is expected to pick up further in the coming months, before moderating towards the end of the year.

They added that external inflationary pressures continue to be strong amid commodity and supply chain disruptions driven by the Russia-Ukraine conflict and the regional pandemic situation.

The Straits Times

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