In March, prices of food advanced 1.4 percent from a year earlier, after a 1.5 percent rise in February. Among food excluding food servicing services, cost increased for: milk, cheese & eggs (1.2 percent); oils & fats (3.6 percent); sugar, preserves & confectionery (1.9 percent); other food (1.6 percent); vegetables (1.3 percent), and and non-alcoholic beverages (0.7 percent). Meantime, prices dropped for meat (-0.4 percent) and bread & cereals (-0.1 percent). Among food servicing services, prices went up for all categories: restaurant foods (1.6 percent); fast food (016 percent); hawker food including food courts (1.5 percent), and catered food (1 percent).
Also, cost went up at a slower pace for healthcare (2.1 percent from 2.5 percent in February), mainly due to a 2.7 percent rise in medical & dental treatment and a 0.3 percent gain in medical products, appliances & equipment) and recreation & culture (0.6 percent from 1.6 percent), driven by a 1 percent rise in recreation & entertainment and a 0.3 percent rise in holiday expenses. In addition, cost of household durables & services rose by 0.7 percent (from 0.8 percent, largely due to a 1.9 percent increase in household services & supplies). Meanwhile, cost went up faster than a month earlier for: education (3 percent from 2.9 percent rise in the preceding month, due to a 3 percent rise in tuition & other fees and a 0.3 percent gain in school textbooks & related study guides); miscellaneous goods & services (1 percent from 0.4 percent), due to a 6.4 percent rise in alcoholic drinks & tobacco and a 0.4 percent rise in other miscellaneous expenditure and clothing & footwear (1.2 percent from 0.7 percent).
On the other hand, cost fell for transport (-0.5 percent from 0.6 percent), largely due to a 0.6 percent drop in private road transport and a 1.1 percent decrease in public road transport. Also, cost dropped further for housing & utilities (-2 percent from -2.1 percent, mainly due to a 3.4 percent decline in accomodation) and communication (-0.3 percent from -0.1 percent).
Core consumer prices which exclude costs of accommodation and private road transport, increased by 1.5 percent, following a 1.7. percent gain in February and slightly below expectations of 1.7 percent.
On a month-on-month basis, consumer prices declined by 0.2 percent in March, reversing from a 0.5 percent rise in a month earlier.