FUEL PRICE HIKES PUSH UP CPI
Index edged up 4.5pc last month, the highest level in eight years
THE Consumer Price Index (CPI) jumped by 4.5 per cent last month, mostly due to the increase in petrol prices.
This marks the highest level in eight years.
The Statistics Department said the major groups which recorded increases in their indices were transport (17.9 per cent) and food and non-alcoholic beverages (4.3 per cent).
It said the index for the transport group rose from 8.3 per cent in January.
The average price of a litre of RON95 petrol was RM2.30 last month compared with RM1.75 in February last year.
As for RON97, the average price increased to RM2.60 last month from RM2.05 in February last year.
On food and non-alcoholic beverages, which accounted 30.2 per cent in the CPI weights, the increase was led by oils and fats (38.3 per cent) and vegetables (9.5 per cent).
The Statistics Department also highlighted that seven states recorded higher increases for the food and non-alcoholic beverages index, rising above the national level index.
Malacca led the pack with 5.4 per cent, followed by Johor (5.3 per cent) and Kuala Lumpur (5.1 per cent).
Standard Chartered Bank economist Edward Lee said the headline inflation would likely tick up following transport prices which increased by about eight per cent after 10 consecutive months in negative territory. Ahead of the report, he said that the CPI would pick up last month as local fuel prices rose 27 to 31 per cent year-on-year on high global oil prices and a weaker domestic currency.
Lee said food prices might have contributed significantly to inflation as well, with the United Nations Food Price Index up by about 17 per cent year-onyear last month.
“We expect inflation to continue to pick up this year on higher oil prices and a low oil price base effect.”
At the annual report briefing on Thursday, Bank Negara Malaysia governor Datuk Muhammad Ibrahim warned that the headline inflation would be in the range of three to four per cent this year with higher energy and commodity prices.
We expect inflation to continue to pick up this year on higher oil prices and a low oil price base effect.
EDWARD LEE Standard Chartered Bank economist