Prices rebounded for transport (1.4 percent vs -0.3 percent in March), namely private road transport (1.1 percent vs -0.9 percent), mainly reflecting higher car prices and a stronger rise in petrol prices. Additionally, cost went up faster for household durables & services (1.4 percent vs 0.4 percent) and recreation & culture (2.1 percent vs 1.3 percent), led by holiday expenses (4.1 percent vs 2.8 percent).
On the other hand, food inflation eased to 1.3 percent in April, below 1.6 percent in the preceding month and reaching the lowest level since May last year. Among food excluding food servicing services, prices slowed for fruits (1.4 percent vs 3.5 percent) and fish & seafood (1.1 percent vs 1.9 percent) while fell for milk, cheese & eggs (-0.2 percent vs 0.8 percent), oils & fats (-0.2 percent vs 1.1 percent), sugar, preserves & confectionery (-1.2 percent vs 0.6 percent). Meanwhile, cost rose faster for vegetables (2.5 percent vs 0.3 percent in March), bread & cereals (2.0 percent vs 1.5 percent), and non-alcoholic beverages (1.1 percent vs 0.7 percent) while prices of meat were flat (vs -1.1 percent). Among food servicing services, prices increased faster for fast food (1.5 percent vs 1.3 percent), restaurant food (1.6 percent vs 1.5 percent), and catered food (4.9 percent vs 4.1 percent).
Also, inflation slowed for education (2.6 percent vs 2.7 percent) and health care (1.2 percent vs 1.5 percent).
Meanwhile, cost of housing & utilities declined 1.0 percent in April, more than a 0.3 percent fall in March, as electricity and gas fees fell 0.8 percent, reversing from a 3.9 percent increase in the prior month. This was mainly due to lower electricity tariffs and the dampening effect of the phased nationwide launch of the Open Electricity Market (OEM) on electricity prices, MAS and MTI said in a joint statement.
In addition, prices declined for clothing & footwear (-1.3 percent vs 0.1 percent) and communications (-0.5 percent vs -1.0 percent). At the same time, cost of miscellaneous goods & services were flat in April, after a 0.3 percent drop in March.
Annual core inflation, which exclude costs of accommodation and private road transport, edged down to 1.3 percent in April from 1.4 percent in March, and matching market consensus. It was the lowest reading since April last year.
For 2019, the country's central bank and trade ministry expect inflation to be in a range of 0.5-1.5 percent while core inflation is projected to come in near the mid-point of the 1-2 percent forecast range.
On a month-on-month basis, consumer prices declined 0.3 percent in March, following a 0.1 percent fall in March. It was the second straight monthly decline in prices.