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Singaporean headline inflation accelerates in April, core rate continues to ease

Singaporean core inflation continued to ease in April. On a year-on-year basis, the consumer price inflation accelerated to 0.8 percent. Big savings from the liberalization of the Open Electricity Market and lower electricity tariffs saw the cost of electricity and gas falling by 2.2 percent year-on-year in April, compared to the 3.9 percent year-on-year rise in March. This partially led to core CPI easing to a 5-month low of 1.3 percent year-on-year in April, down from 1.4 percent in March.

“With the phased nationwide launch of the OEM underway, this could continue to dampen core CPI and stay MAS’ hand come the October monetary policy meeting. With core inflation averaging 1.5 percent for the first four months of 2019, this is squarely at the midpoint of the official 1-2 percent forecast range and in line with our 2019 core inflation forecast of 1.5 percent yoy”, said Selena Ling, Head of Treasury Research & Strategy, OCBC Bank. 

Nevertheless, the headline inflation accelerated to 0.8 percent in April, the highest since May 2017, but fell 0.3 percent sequentially. This brought the initial four months of the year up to 0.5 percent year-on-year, which is triple the 0.2 percent seen for the same period last year. Services inflation also rose 2 percent year, was mainly because of larger hikes in holiday expenses, domestic service fees.

“We see some upside risk to headline CPI prints for the remainder of 2019, but this is unlikely to tilt MAS policy bias in the interim as core inflation is still easing”, added Selena Ling .

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