CPI growth falls to 4.4pc in April, led by transport index
KUALA LUMPUR: The Consumer Price Index (CPI) growth eased to an annualised 4.4 per cent last month from 5.1 per cent in March.
The Statistics Department said growth — which came in below market expectations — was led by the transport index, which expanded by 16.7 per cent.
Fuels and lubricants for personal transport equipment accounted for 7.8 per cent of the CPI weights.
The average price of one litre of RON95 petrol was RM2.21 last month compared with RM1.70 in the corresponding period last year. As for RON97, the average price rose to RM2.48 compared with RM2.05 in April last year.
The index for Food and NonAlcoholic Beverages, which accounted 30.2 per cent in the CPI weights, increased 4.1 per cent last month.
The Statistics Department said the rise was due to food subgroups comprising oils and fats (39.1 per cent), fish and seafood (6.2 per cent) and meat (4.2 per cent).
UOB Bank economist Julia Goh expects inflation to ease further with this month’s inflation expected between 4.0 and 4.4 per cent due to declining petrol prices since the end of last month.
“Lookout for possibly higher food prices with the Ramadan fasting month expected to start on May 27,” she said.
Goh expects the CPI to grow by between 4.2 and 4.5 per cent in the second quarter, assuming stable oil prices of US$50-US$55 (RM216.19-RM237.81) per barrel.
Given that the three-month moving average is 4.7 per cent, Alliance Research said inflation would remain around this range in the immediate term.
“However, there is uncertainty in the inflationary trend as it partly depends on the direction of global crude oil prices.
“In view of various cost-push pressures from administrative price adjustments and higher global crude oil prices, we maintain our higher inflation forecast of 3.5 per cent for this year,” said Alliance Research. Rupa Damodaran