Malaysia’s inflation eased to 3.4% in March: DoSM

Malaysia’s inflation eased to 3.4% in March: DoSM

This mainly driven by RON97 price decrease, says chief statistician

KUALA LUMPUR – The Consumer Price Index (CPI) for March 2023 eased to 3.4% with the index point recorded at 129.9 against 125.6 in the same month of the previous year.

The Statistics Department’s chief statistician Datuk Seri Mohd Uzir Mahidin said the slower inflation was mainly driven by the decrease in the price of unleaded RON97 petrol, which eased inflation for the transport group to 2.4%.

“This was in line with the downward trend of the Brent crude oil price, which was at US$78.53 (RM348.36) per barrel during March 2023 from US$115.59 in March 2022,” he said in a statement today.

Nevertheless, he said inflation for food & non-alcoholic beverages (6.9%) and restaurants & hotels (7.2%) remained high even though it was lower than in February 2023.

The weight for the food & non-alcoholic beverages group (29.5%); transport (14.6%); and restaurants & hotels (2.9%) comprise 47.0% of the total weight for CPI, which have a significant impact on the inflation rate and cost of living.

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

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

“Meanwhile, the communications group recorded a negative 1.4%,” he said.

Uzir said the food & non-alcoholic beverages group – which contributes 29.5% of total CPI – recorded a moderate increase of 6.9% from 7% in February 2023.

He also revealed that out of 230 items for food & beverages, 201 items (87.4%) recorded price increases compared to March 2022.

On another note, Uzir said the CPI for the first quarter of 2023 inclined 3.6% compared to the same quarter of the preceding year. On a quarterly basis, CPI grew at 0.6%, the same rate as recorded in the fourth quarter of 2022.

Core inflation – which measures changes in the prices of all goods and services, excluding volatile prices of fresh food as well as government-administered goods prices – still registered a higher increase of 3.8% from 3.9% in February 2023.

“The increase was mainly due to the food & non-alcoholic beverages (group) that recorded 7.5%.

“In addition, the restaurants & hotels group also recorded an increase of 7.2%, followed by transport (5.7%),” he said.

He said monthly headline inflation in March 2023 increased marginally at 0.1% compared to the previous month.

This was mainly contributed by restaurants & hotels (0.3%), while furnishings, household equipment & routine household maintenance; education and miscellaneous goods & services increased by 0.2% respectively.

In comparison to selected countries in the Asia Pacific region, Uzir said the inflation rate in Malaysia (3.4%) was lower than that in South Korea, Indonesia, and the Philippines.

– Bernama, April 20, 2023

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