KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia’s consumer price index (CPI) jumped 5.1% in March on year, the highest in eight years due to the low base last year and higher retail fuel prices compared to March 2016.
The latest index, however, was marginally lower than Bloomberg survey of a 5.2% rise.
The Statistics Department said the March CPI, a broad measure of inflation, increased by 5.1%. However, it said core inflation remained stable at 2.5%
Among the major groups which recorded increases were the indices for transport (+23%), food andnon-alcoholic beverages (+4.1%), recreation services and culture (+3%), health (+2.6%), restaurants and hotels (+2.3%) and housing, water, electricity, gas and other fuels (+2.1%).
The index of transport group showed a significant increase of 23% on a year-on-year basis in March 2017, after rising 17.9% in February 2017. This increase is due to the base effect of low Transport group index in March 2016 and the increase in fuel prices in March 2017.
The department said the average price of 1 litre of RON95 petrol was RM2.29 in March 2017 compared to RM1.60 in March 2016. As for RON97, the average price increased to RM2.59 in March 2017 compared to RM1.95 in March 2016.
Fuels and lubricants for personal transport equipment accounted for 7.8% of the CPI weights.
The index for food & non-alcoholic beverages which accounted 30.2% in the CPI weights, increased 4.1% in March 2017.
For the period January to March 2017, CPI registered an increase of 4.3% as compared to the same period last year.
The index forfFood and non-alcoholic beverages were the main contributor to the CPI rise in the period January to March 2017, registered an increase of 4.2%.