Food, energy may take Singapore inflation to a 25-year high

Singapore’s inflation might have hit a fresh 25-year high last month as imported food and energy costs soared.

A Dow Jones Newswires poll of economists forecast the consumer price index to have risen 4.3 per cent from a year earlier in December, after increasing by 4.2 per cent in the previous month. November’s price rise was the fastest since 1982.

Forecasts for the data, due at 1pm today, ranged from 4.1 to 4.5 per cent.

Analysts say the price rise was broad-based, but higher food and transportation costs posed the heaviest burden on consumers.

“Increases in pump prices by major petrol retailers and the 18-per-cent to 49-per-cent fare hike by two major taxi operators in the middle of the month likely brought transport inflation higher,” said economics and market analyst Leon Hiew, from Citigroup.

He said prices of electricity and rentals also contributed to overall inflation – a trend that may continue this year.

“We expect inflation to continue rising, possibly breaching the 6-per-cent mark in January,” he said.

The poll forecasts the CPI to have risen 0.3 per cent from November in seasonally adjusted terms. The index rose 0.6 per cent in November from October. – Dow Jones

Source : Today – 23 Jan 2008

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