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Taiwan CPI up 0.76% in January

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Taiwan's consumer price index (CPI) for January rose 0.76 percent from a year earlier, largely on rising costs of food and certain services, according to government statistics released yesterday.

Last month, the CPI growth reflected higher demand for fish and meat products ahead of and during the Lunar New Year holiday, the Directorate General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics (DGBAS) cited the statistics as showing.

The DGBAS said select services, such as babysitting, tourism expenses, taxi fares and hairdressing costs were more expensive in the holiday season.

The six-day Lunar New Year holiday started Jan. 30 and ended Feb. 4.

On a month-on-month basis, the local CPI rose 0.24 percent in January, with a figure of 0.10 percent after seasonal adjustments.

In January, food prices were up 1.02 percent from a year earlier, with fish and meat prices up 9.12 percent and 5.95 percent, respectively, in reflection of strong seasonal demand, while fruit prices gained 11.12 percent year-on-year due to reduced supplies, the DGBAS said.

Tsai Yu-tai, deputy director of the DGBAS' department of statistics, said that after a series of typhoons last summer, the pace of restoration of fruit production remained slow.

Tsai said that since July of last year, fruit prices have risen significantly, adding that average wholesale prices in January rose 30 percent from a year earlier to NT$47.8 (US$1.58) per kilogram. The higher fruit prices boosted January's CPI by 0.27 percentage points.

The statistics show that vegetable prices for January fell 19.34 percent from a year earlier as a result of ample supplies, a decline that dropped the CPI growth by 0.46 percentage points.

Dining-out expenses in the month rose 1.45 percent from a year earlier after restaurant operators raised prices, citing rising production costs, the statistics indicate.

The DGBAS said service costs in January rose 1.36 percent from a year earlier largely because babysitting charges jumped 42.17 percent as parents tended to give their sitters gifts of money for the Lunar New Year holiday.

In January, the core CPI, which excludes vegetables, fruit and energy items, rose 0.95 percent from a year earlier, while the wholesale price index gained 0.42 percent year-on-year due to higher electricity rates and increasing prices of electronic components, the DGBAS said.

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A man examines an apple guava at a mall in Taipei, yesterday. Taiwan's consumer price index for January rose 0.76 percent from a year earlier, mainly due to the rising costs of food and certain services, according to government statistics. (CNA)

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