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Taiwan's CPI up 1.61 percent in March to 13-month high

TAIPEI--Taiwan's consumer price index (CPI) for March rose 1.61 percent from the year-earlier level due to rising food costs, government statistics showed Monday. It was the largest gain in the CPI in 13 months, according to the Directorate General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics (DGBAS).

The rise was attributed mainly to increases in the prices of fruit (17.32 percent), vegetables (14.43 percent), meat (13.08 percent), seafood (8.84 percent), eggs (4.86 percent) and processed food (3.83 percent), the DGBAS said.

Dining-out expenses, meanwhile, rose 2.26 percent. In March, a 6.26 percent increase was recorded for the 17 food staples being monitored by a Cabinet price stabilization panel. In the first three months of this year, the prices of these items rose 3.69 percent.

Among specific food items that recorded significant price hikes in March, chicken spiked 15.69 percent to the highest level in 66 months, pork jumped 14.04 percent to a 67-month high, and chicken eggs climbed 5.52 percent to an 11-month high. The price of rice, meanwhile, continued an upward trend, rising by 3.76 percent.

The increases were partly offset by decreases in the prices of telecommunication and consumer electronics costs, the DGBAS said.

The core CPI, which excludes vegetables, fruit and fuel, rose 0.97 percent from a year earlier.

Because food prices impact more heavily on the expenses of low-income families, the CPI for low-income households was up 2.08 percent in March, compared with a 1.68 percent rise in the CPI for middle-income households and a 1.35-percent increase in the CPI for high-income households, the DGBAS said.

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A crowd waits in a line to pick up lunch at the Hsu Chi Dumpling House, a counterpart of Taipei's Din Tai Fung Dumpling House, in downtown Kaohsiung, yesterday. Mainly affected by increases in the prices of fruit, vegetables, meat and seafood, expenses for each Taiwanese household inflated by NT$1,000 in March, with increases in dining-out costs hitting a yearly high

(CNA)

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