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Price of eating out grows to five-year high

TAIPEI--The cost of dining out in Taiwan grew in May at the highest monthly rate in more than five years, in reflection of rising meat, fruit and vegetable prices, government statistics showed Thursday.

Dining out costs in May rose 3.52 percent, the highest monthly rate since February 2009 when it was 3.70 percent, according to statistics from the Directorate General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics (DGBAS).

The May growth indicated that a Taiwan household with a monthly expenditure of NT$60,000 (US$2,000) had to spend NT$213 more in dining out costs in May compared with the same period of last year, the DGBAS said.

Tsai Tai-yu, deputy director of the DGBAS's census department, said there is little chance that the cost of eating out will fall in the future.

The growth in dining out costs accounted for about 10 percent of the domestic consumer price index (CPI) increase, according to the DGBAS.

CPI in May Rose 1.61% Year-on-year

In May, the local CPI rose 1.61 percent year-on year, largely as a result of rising food prices, while a decline in communications service fees and the prices of computers, communications devices and consumer electronics offset the impact of the higher food prices, the DGBAS said.

Food prices grew 4.18 percent in May from a year earlier, with the price of fruit rising 13.55 percent, meat 13.95 percent, fishery products 8.88 percent, eggs 8.48 percent, and grain and related items 3.03 percent, the DGBAS said.

Entertainment and education costs edged up 0.52 percent in May, while lower communications service fees and 3C product prices buffered the hikes in tourism costs and cram school tuition fees, the government agency said.

Tsai said the core CPI, which excludes fruits, vegetables and energy, rose 1.46 percent in May from a year earlier, the highest year-by-year growth in 15 months. The CPI excluding only fruits and vegetables grew by an annual 1.55 percent.

Month-by-month, the May CPI rose 0.14 percent but after seasonal adjustments, it showed a drop of 0.04 percent, according to the DGBAS statistics.

17 Household Necessities Rose 6.7%

The DGBAS data showed that the prices of 17 household necessities, including rice, pork, bread, eggs, sugar, cooking oil, shampoo and toilet tissue, rose 6.7 percent from a year earlier to a 63-month high.

The wholesale price index (WPI) in May climbed 1.17 percent from a year earlier as the Taiwan dollar's depreciation against the U.S. dollar boosted wholesale prices, while higher crude oil, coal and electricity prices also contributed to the WPI growth, the statistics indicated.

In the first five months of the year, Taiwan's CPI rose by an annual 1.14 percent, the core CPI grew 0.91 percent, and the WPI gained 0.30 percent, the DGBAS said.

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 Taipei housing transactions  up almost 16 percent in May 
This photo shows a scene of consumers lining up for a quick meal during the lunchtime rush hour, in Taipei, yesterday. The Directorate General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics yesterday announced that the consumer price index last month rose to 103.89, gaining 1.61 percent month-by-month.

(CNA)

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