Malaysia Aug CPI +3.7% on Year; +3.5% Expected
By Yantoultra Ngui
KUALA LUMPUR--Malaysia's inflation picked up in August, ending four consecutive months of moderation from an eight-year high of 5.1% in March, mainly because of higher fuel prices.
The consumer-price index rose 3.7% from a year earlier, the Department of Statistics said Wednesday, compared with a 3.2% year-over-year increase in July. The figure was stronger than the 3.5% increase expected in a poll of nine economists by The Wall Street Journal.
Compared with the month before, the CPI rose 0.9% after seasonal adjustment, the data showed.
Core inflation rose 2.4% in August compared with the same month last year.
August's inflation was mainly driven by higher year-over-year costs for transportation, food and non-alcoholic beverages, it said.
The momentum for consumer prices was in contrast with the central bank's expectation that headline inflation, which softened to 4% in the second quarter on lower fuel prices from 4.3% in the preceding quarter, will moderate further in the second half of this year, assuming lower global oil prices.
Bank Negara Malaysia last month announced a better-than-expected economic growth of 5.8% for the second quarter--a pace last seen in the first quarter of 2015--powered by growth in both private and public sectors, and a broad-based expansion in exports of manufactured goods and commodities.
The central bank has projected inflation to trend higher at 3.0% to 4.0% this year, compared with 2.1% in 2016.