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Singapore inflation up at slower pace in August

September 24, 2012 Channel News Asia
Inflation in Singapore has eased to the lowest in almost two years, reflecting more moderate increases in accommodation cost and services fees.

The consumer price index for all items in August edged down slightly to 3.9 per cent compared to 4 per cent in July.

Accommodation cost inflation slowed to 7.4 per cent from 7.8 per cent in July as residential property rentals rose at a more moderate pace, while private road transport cost rose 6.3 per cent in August due to pump prices.

Car prices climbed more moderately as compared to July.

Food price inflation remained stable at 2.3 per cent.

However, economists warned that transport and accommodation costs will continue to keep inflation elevated.

Joey Chew, economist at Barclays Bank PLC, said: "September inflation might rise to above 4 per cent again. I think the key reason is due to certain idiosyncratic factors such as base effect from the discontinuation of service and conservancy rebates... and second thing is the volatility of COE premiums. But, you are right that the quantitative easing (QE) does play a factor, although I think the volatility effects from QE will factor in closer to the end of the year."

In a statement, the Monetary Authority of Singapore and the Trade and Industry Ministry said headline inflation is expected to rise in September.

This is largely due to a "surge" in the cost of Certificates of Entitlement (COE) for motor vehicles in August.

However, lower global commodity prices will contain domestic oil and food inflation in the near term.

For the year, the authorities said inflation will stay elevated and average 4 to 4.5 per cent.
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