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2013 records Taiwan's lowest rate of inflation in four years

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- The local consumer price index (CPI) in 2013 grew by 0.79 percent, representing the lowest growth in four years, said the Directorate General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics (DGBAS, 主計處) yesterday.

In 2013, the prices of Chinese medicine, chicken, gas tanks, rice and tourism expenses rose 10.11 percent, 9.88 percent, 6.25 percent, 5.71 percent and 5.11 percent year-on-year, respectively.

Prices of television sets, digital cameras, and cell phones dropped 10.67 percent, 10.91 percent and 10.03 percent, respectively.

Prices of chicken rose throughout 2013, caused by a level of demand which exceeded supply, DGBAS Deputy Director Tsai Yu-tai (蔡鈺泰) said.

All in all, the annual 0.79-percent rise was relatively mild, Tsai said. The average price of restaurant meals rose 1.55 percent, and prices of fruit dropped by 2.58 percent. The prices of computers, communication technology, and consumer electronics products also fell significantly compared with other items.

CPI in December

The CPI index in December registered 102.93, a rise of 0.33 percent in year-on-year terms. The prices of fruit, fish, meats, grain products, herbal medicine, utility and tourism were relatively higher compared with a year ago. The prices of dining out and gas tanks also registered rises.

With Chinese New Year at the end of January approaching soon, the prices of meat and seafood continued to rise, while those of vegetables have begun to decline, the DGBAS said.

Prices of vegetables rose by 2.45 percent in 2013, but prices in December fell 7.95 percent on those in November. It appeared that prices of vegetables have not been affected by the approaching Chinese New Year holiday, Tsai said.

Prices of clothing also declined in December, due to year-end sales promotions held across department stores in Taiwan.

Due to rising electricity prices, the DGBAS initially forecast fourth-quarter CPI to rise by 1.12 percent. It turned out, however, that the CPI increased by only 0.56 percent. Tsai said that businesses might lower their prices due to weak domestic consumption, and that electricity price hikes had a lower-than-expected impact on consumer prices.

CPI of Other Countries

Regarding inflation in other countries, between January and November, the CPI in Japan, the U.S., Singapore, mainland China and Hong Kong rose by 0.2 percent, 1.5 percent, 2.4 percent, 2.6 percent, and 4.3 percent, respectively. South Korea's inflation was pegged at 1.3 percent for the year of 2013.

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Buyers select produce at a local fruit store yesterday. The Directorate General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics (DGBAS, 主計處) said that due to relatively higher fruit prices, the consumer price index rose 0.79 percent in 2013, while the index rose 0.33 percent in December. (CNA)

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