Malaysian headline inflation falls further in October, likely to remain negative in 2020
Malaysia’s headline inflation dropped further into negative territory in the month of October. On a year-on-year basis, the consumer price inflation came in at -1.5 percent, as compared with September’s -1.4 percent. Renewed mobility restrictions, along with soft global oil prices, dragged inflation lower.
Meanwhile, the headline inflation rose on a sequential basis in the month. On a month-on-month basis, the inflation came in at 0.1 percent, a slight acceleration from September’s 0 percent. Higher food prices mainly drove the inflation higher, countering the overall softness in inflation. Transport costs continued to decline on the back of softer oil prices. On a month-on-month basis, miscellaneous goods and services prices also dropped, falling 0.1 percent.
On a year-on-year basis, food inflation rose 1.5 percent, whereas transport prices fell 10.2 percent year-on-year. Nevertheless, the softness in 22 components is a reason for worry. They have been weighing on the headline inflation, except for a brief uptick in June-July.
“October’s inflation print underscores the persistence of disinflationary pressures that are unlikely to ease this month or the next. Headline inflation is poised to be negative for the full year. Inflation remains a non-issue for monetary policy with Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) focusing on bolstering growth, which has off-late had a setback amidst renewed mobility restrictions. Real-time indicators have softened after a remarkable recovery in July-September period”, stated ANZ in a research report.