Business

Singapore's core inflation holds steady in March

Singapore recorded its fourth month of positive inflation last month, with the consumer price index holding steady from February. Headline inflation (total inflation) was unchanged at 0.7 per cent year on year, according to official figures released yesterday.

Core inflation was 1.2 per cent last month as price changes in the core components of the consumer price index basket were broadly stable. The core inflation figure excludes changes in the price of cars and accommodation, and it better reflects everyday consumption patterns.

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and Ministry of Trade and Industry said in a joint statement that they expect a temporary increase in inflation this year on the back of "administrative price adjustments". These include the rise in carpark charges and household refuse collection fees, and upcoming increases in water prices and service and conservancy charges.

"Overall, domestic sources of inflation remain relatively muted. Conditions in the labour market have slackened, and this is expected to dampen underlying wage pressures, even as commercial and retail rents have eased," they said.

MAS held its exchange rate-based monetary policy steady last week, saying a "neutral" stance will be needed for an extended period, as it looked to support an economy that contracted in the first quarter amid lingering risks to the global outlook. -THE STRAITS TIMES

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