Year-on-year, cost fell for housing & utilities (-0.5 percent vs 0.1 percent in December), amid a drop in prices of accommodation (-1.9 percent, the same pace as December) and a slowdown in those of electricity & gas (6.5 percent vs 14.6 percent), reflecting a downward revision in electricity tariffs due to lower oil prices in the preceding months, as well as the effect of the phased nationwide launch of the Open Electricity Market (OEM) on electricity prices. In addition, prices fell for transport (-1.8 percent vs -2.6 percent), namely private road transport (-3.4 percent vs -3.7 percent); and communications (-2.9 percent vs -2.7 percent).
Meantime, cost slowed for: clothing & footwear (2.5 percent vs 2.6 percent); household durables & services (0.7 percent vs 0.8 percent); and recreation & culture (0.9 percent vs 1.7 percent). Also, inflation was steady for education (at 3.2 percent); miscellaneous goods & services (at 1.4 percent) and food & non-alcoholic beverages (at 1.4 percent), which stood at its lowest level in five months, as cost increases for both non-cooked food items and prepared meals remained almost the same. On the other hand, prices rose further for healthcare (1.7 percent vs 1.6 percent).
Annual core inflation, which exclude costs of accommodation and private road transport, edged down to 1.7 percent in January from 1.9 percent in December, missing market expectations of 1.9 percent.
On a month-on-month basis, consumer prices declined 0.3 percent in January, compared to a 0.1 percent rise in December and marking the first monthly fall in three months.
In a joint release, the Singapore's central bank and trade ministry revised down 2019 inflation forecast to between 0.5 percent to 1.5 percent from an earlier estimate of 1 percent to 2 percent, reflecting a sharp decline in global oil prices.