Taipei, March 8 (CNA) Taiwan’s consumer price index (CPI) rose by more than 2 percent for a seventh consecutive month in February, led primarily by higher prices for food and fuel, the Directorate-General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics (DBGAS) said Tuesday.
Taiwan’s CPI rose 2.36 percent in February from a year earlier, down slightly from the 2.84 percent increase in January, but it likely felt higher to consumers because the main spikes in prices were for daily necessities or regularly purchased items.
Food prices rose 5.29 percent in February compared to February 2021, with the costs of eggs (up 24.30 percent), fruits (up 12.71 percent), vegetables (up 9.67 percent), and meat (up 4.27 percent) all pushing higher, DGBAS data showed.
Among other noteworthy increases, fuel prices were up 16.88 percent, transportation costs rose 5.86 percent because of higher airfares, the cost of household maintenance and repairs rose 6.82 percent, and the cost of eating out or takeout was up 4.80 percent.
Offsetting some of the price increases were a 4.55 fall in communication equipment, reflecting lower prices for mobile phones, a moderate 0.97 rise in the cost of rent, and a 0.17 percent fall in entertainment costs.
Though the prices of daily commodities continued to rise at brisk paces, core inflation, which excludes the prices of fruits, vegetables and energy costs, remained stable, rising 1.65 percent in February and 2.03 percent in the first two months of the year.
Inflation in Taiwan has remained above 2 percent since the second quarter of 2021, even as the government has had state-run companies absorb some of the increases in the prices of crude oil, natural gas, and other energy inputs rather than pass them on to consumers.
The CPI rose 2.12 percent in the second quarter of 2021, 2.28 percent in the third quarter, 2.68 percent in the fourth quarter, and 2.60 percent in the first two months of 2022.
But the CPI could rise another notch in the near term, according to DGBAS official Tsao Chih-hung (曹志弘), who said the war in Ukraine will likely put further pressure on global commodity prices and lead to inflation at the consumer level in Taiwan.
The wholesale price index rose 11.54 percent in February from a year earlier, slightly higher than the 10.97 rise in January.
(By Pan Tzu-yu and Luke Sabatier)