Inflation falls to below 1% in June, first time in 40 months

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia's inflation rate fell below 1% in June, which was the first time in 40 months following the abolishment of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) , discounted prices by retailers and price control due to the festivities.

The Statistics Department said on Wednesday the Consumer Price Index (CPI) was 0.8% in June from a year ago compared with 1.8% in May 2018. This was sharply lower compared with a survey of a 1.3% increase for June.

On a monthly basis, the CPI fell 1.2% as compared to May 2018 due to the decrease in all main groups.

“The impact was due to the zero-rated GST from June until August. Another factor was the  discounted price by retailers in conjunction with Aidilfitri, Hari Gawai Dayak: Gaya Guru Gerai Nyamai and the implementation of the Price Control  Scheme for 22 selected items in conjunction with Hari Raya Aidilfitri,” it said.

A total 168,000 quotations were obtained from 21,800 establishments all over Malaysia showed decreases in all main groups except transport group (+5.5%) in June 2018 (May 2018:+3.8%) especially for sub-group fuels & lubricants for personal transport equipment 10.2% (May 2018: +5.3%). 

The increase in the transport group was due to higher fuel prices in June 2018 as compared to the same period of the previous year.

The price of petrol RON95 was RM2.20 in June 2018 (June 2017: RM2), RON97 RM2.58 (June 2017: RM2.27) and diesel RM2.18 (June 2017: RM1.92).

The department said the CPI fell in June from May due to the decrease in all main groups. They were miscellaneous goods and services (-3.1%), communication (-3.0% per cent); recreation & culture services (-2.9%); clothing & footwear (-2.6%); furnishings, household equipment & routine household maintenance (-2.4%) and food & non-alcoholic beverages (-1%). 

Core inflation rose 0.1% in June from a year ago, due to price increases for housing, water, electricity, gas & other fuels (+2.4%); food & non-alcoholic beverages (+1%) and education (+0.9%). 

Core inflation, which excludes most volatile items of fresh food, as well as administered prices of goods and services recorded changes ranging from 0.1% to 2.2% in January to June 2018 from a year ago.

In terms of overall CPI, three states surpassed the national CPI rate of 0.8% in June from a year ago. Negeri Sembilan recorded a 1.1% increase, Kuala Lumpur and Selangor & Putrajaya 0.9% each.

The higher increase in the index for food and non-alcoholic beverages was reflected in most states in Malaysia. There were three states which recorded higher increases for the index above the national index level (+0.8%) in June from a year ago.

For January to June, the CPI rose 1.6% from the previous corresponding period.
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