Upward pressure came from: food (3.1 percent vs 3 percent in February), in particular meals bought away from home (2.3 percent vs 2 percent) and other food (4.7 percent vs 4.9 percent); housing (2.9 percent vs 3 percent), such as private housing rent (2.2 percent vs 2.4 percent) and public housing rent (11.6 percent, the same as in February); miscellaneous services (1.1 percent vs 1.6 percent), such as information and communication services (-8.6 percent vs -6.4 percent), medical services (4.2 percent, the same as in February) and educational services (2.4 percent, the same as in February); transport (2 percent vs 1.4 percent); miscellaneous goods (2.1 percent vs 1.4 percent); alcoholic drinks and tobacco (2.5 percent vs 2.6 percent); and clothing and footwear (0.3 percent vs -1.5 percent).
On the other hand, declines were seen in prices of electricity, gas and water (-5.4 percent vs -4.7 percent) and durable goods (-2.4 percent vs -1.7 percent).
Underlying consumer inflation, which excludes the effects of one-off government relief measures such as tax cuts for lower income individuals; extra allowance for the elderly, child & disabled people; students' grants slowed to 2.4 percent in March from 2.6 percent in the previous month.
"Looking ahead, inflation will likely stay moderate in the near term. The consolidation of fresh-letting residential rentals earlier on should continue to have a mitigating effect in the period ahead. External price pressures have also shown some easing recently. The Government will continue to monitor the situation closely, particularly the impact on the lower-income people.", a Government spokesman said.