Singapore consumer prices fall for 14th straight month

Singapore consumer prices fall for 14th straight month

Singapore's consumer prices fell the most in almost three decades last year amid very low oil prices, lacklustre economic growth and the soft housing rental market.

Still, many economists do not expect the central bank to deploy monetary policy to combat this long funk in growth and inflation.

They believe the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) will maintain its Singapore dollar policy instead of acting to slow the currency's appreciation against a trade-weighted basket of currencies - barring a major shock or signs of economic recession.

Data out yesterday showed last month's consumer price index - which measures inflation - slid 0.6 per cent over December 2014.

This was its 14th straight month of contraction and Singapore's longest stretch of negative inflation since the global financial crisis.

This brought inflation for the whole of last year to negative 0.5 per cent - the nation's first full-year negative inflation reading since 2002, and the lowest in 29 years, noted DBS economist Irvin Seah.

Falling private road transport and housing costs were again the main drags on inflation last month.

However, they had limited impact on households' daily expenses. The MAS core inflation measure, which strips out accommodation and private road transport costs to better gauge everyday expenses, rose to 0.3 per cent last month from 0.2 per cent in November owing to higher services inflation.

For the whole of last year, core inflation came in at 0.5 per cent.

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