Malaysia’s March CPI eases to 3.4%

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia’s consumer price index (CPI) in March eased to 3.4% with the index point at 129.9, underpinned by a decrease in the price of unleaded petrol.

A report from the Statistics Department showed on Thursday the rate of inflation in March had moderated from 3.7% in February.

This was below the expectations of a poll of economists surveyed by Reuters, which had a median forecast of 3.7%.

Core inflation, which measures changes in the prices of all goods and services, excluding volatile prices of fresh food as well as administered prices of goods by the government, still registered a higher increase of 3.8%.

Cumulatively, the CPI in the first three months of the year increased 3.6% from the same quarter in 2022, and gained 0.6% as compared to the fourth quarter of 2022.

According to chief statistician Datuk Seri Mohd Uzir Mahidin, there was a decrease in the price of RON97 unleaded petrol in March, which eased the inflation of the transport group to 2.4% during the month.

He said this was in line with the downward trend of Brent crude oil price, which was at US$78.53 per barrel in March 2023.

However, inflation in the food and non-alcoholic beverages, and restaurants and hotels segments remained high at 6.9% and 7.2% respectively, despite being lower than in February.

“Apart from that, the increase in Malaysia’s inflation in March 2023 was also due to furnishings, household equipment and routine household maintenance (3.1%); health (2.2%) and miscellaneous goods and services (2.1%).

“This was followed by recreation services and culture (1.9%); education (1.7%); housing, water, electricity, gas and other fuels (1.6%); alcoholic beverages and tobacco (0.6%) and clothing and footwear (0.5%),” said Mohd Uzir.

Meanwhile, the communications group recorded deflation of 1.4%.

For Malaysians in the below-RM3,000 income group, inflation rose 3.6% to 130.8 in March, due to a 6.4% increase in the food and non-alcholic beverages group.

In addition, the inflation for restaurants and hotels also went up 7.4%, followed by furnishings, household equipment and routine household maintenance (3.6%); health (2.2%); transport (1.8%) and housing, water, electricity, gas and other fuels (1.7%).

Source: https://www.thestar.com.my/business/business-news/2023/04/20/malaysia039s-march-cpi-eases-to-34