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CPI feels holiday hangover in Feb.: DGBAS

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- The consumer price index (CPI) in February was pegged at 102.85, down 0.4 percent from January and 0.05 percent from a year ago, according to a report released by the Directorate-General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics (DGBAS) yesterday.

The DGBAS said that following the Chinese New Year, the price of goods including foods, taxi fares, airplane tickets, and overseas travel costs dropped in February. In addition, promotional sales of apparel goods in the month also contributed to the drop.

February's food prices rose 2.54 percent compared with a year ago, of which the price of fruits rose 10.01 percent and the price of chicken rose 14.22 percent. In addition, the prices of aquatic foods, meat and wheat products rose 4.53 percent, 6.18 percent and 1.75 percent respectively. The prices of rice, milk powder and cooking oil rose 5.2 percent, 5.25 percent and 4.77 percent respectively.

The prices of pork has risen about NT$10 per catty. While the price rose 1.12 percent in February, the DGBAS expects higher price rises to be reflected in March's CPI. In anticipation of shortages following the devastation wrought by the outbreak of a porcine diarrhea epidemic (PED) since last October, pork prices reached a 10-year high of NT$82.31 per kilogram at the end of Monday's auctions. The DGBAS predicts the prices of goods to rise in March.

However, the prices of eggs and vegetables dropped 3.46 percent and 5.74 percent respectively.

CPI of Other Nations

CPI in Japan, Singapore, the U.S., mainland China and Hong Kong rose 1.4 percent, 1.4 percent, 1.6 percent, 2.5 percent and 4.6 percent respectively in January. Taiwan's CPI between January and February rose 0.39 percent while South Korea's rose 1.1 percent.

Between January and February, the food prices rose 1.75 percent, of which prices of fruits, aquatic foods and meat saw the highest growth. Prices of transportation and communication related products and services dropped 1.47 percent.

CPI by Income Bracket

The CPI of low-income families in February was pegged at 103.17, down 0.04 percent from the previous month. The index for mid-income families in the month was pegged at 102.99, down 0.29 percent month-on-month. The CPI for high-income families was pegged at 102.79, down 0.7 percent. Costs of nanny wages, taxi fares and overseas travel contribute a large portion of high-income family's CPI.

Wholesale Price Indices

The Wholesale Price Indices (WPI) in February rose 0.4 percent month-on-month, mainly because prices of electronic parts and components, machinery equipments and chemical materials rose. However, prices of petroleum and coal products dropped.

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