Malaysia posts 1.8% inflation in October, lowest since April 2021

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia's inflation moderated to 1.8% in October 2023, representing its lowest level since April 2021 amid lower price increases in food and non-alcoholic beverages.

The increase in the consumer price index (CPI) to 130.9 from 128.6 in the same month last year was lower than the 1.9% median forecast by a Reuters poll of economists.

"In comparison to inflation of other countries, inflation in Malaysia (1.8%) was lower than inflation in the Philippines (4.9%), Republic of Korea (3.8%), Vietnam (3.6%), Eurozone (2.9%) and Indonesia (2.6%).

"However, the rate is higher than China (-0.2%) and Thailand (-0.3%)," the National Statistics Department noted in a statement.

Apart from food and non-alcoholic beverages, other groups that contributed to the lower increase in Malaysia's inflation included the alcoholic beverages and tobacco group (0.6%), clothing and footwear (0.0%) and housing, water, electricity, gas and other fuels (1.6%).

The food-at-home component rose 2.1% as compared to 2.5% in the previous month, driven mainly by the higher cost of rice, bread and other cereals.

Food away from home, meanwhile, increased at a slower pace of 5.6% as compared to 5.6% in September 2023.

The Statistics Department said the monthly headline inflation in October rose 0.1%, mainly on the back of restaurants and hotels (0.5%), transport (0.2%) and health (0.2%).

The country's core inflation increased at a slower rate of 2.4% as compared to 2.5% in September, although it remained higher than the overall national inflation rate.

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