CPI up 1.8pc due to higher transport, food cost

The Consumer Price Index (CPI)_ in March 2021 increased by 1.8 per cent compared to March 2020.

Prices of food and non-alcoholic beverages increased by 3.6 per cent, according to the Department of Economic Planning and Statistics (JPES).

Meanwhile, non-food prices increased by 1.4 per cent. The CPI increase was largely attributed to increases in the prices and costs of transport which rose by 5.9 per cent; food and non-alcoholic beverages (3.6 per cent); and communication (2.6 per cent).

However, the department said it was moderated by the decrease in prices and costs of clothing and footwear which dropped by three per cent; furnishings, household equipment and routine household maintenance (0.8 per cent); and miscellaneous goods and services (0.4 per cent).

The department said that the increase in prices of transport was largely attributed to the rise in prices of motor cars followed by flight tickets.

Rising prices of food and non-alcoholic beverages were driven by the hike in food prices such as beef and buffalo meat; vegetables; and fruits. The increase in the price of beef and buffalo meat was due to, among others, increased domestic demand from travel restrictions and limited import supply.

Meanwhile, the increase in the price of vegetables was due to uncertain weather conditions.

The department said that the rising cost of communication was due to telephone and telefax equipment, specifically new handphones being introduced in the market; and telephone and telefax services, specifically changes in the prices of communication service packages.

On a month-on-month basis, the CPI in March increased by 0.3 per cent compared to February. The Food and Non-Alcoholic Beverages Index decreased by 0.2 per cent while the Non-Food Index increased by 0.4 per cent.

The CPI is a measure of price changes of goods and services paid by the consumer in a specified period and compiled on a monthly basis.

The list of goods and services in the CPI is based on the average expenditure per household from the Household Expenditure Survey (HES).