Year-on-year, downward prices pressure came from: housing & utilities (-4.1 percent in February from -4.0 percent in January, largely due to a 10.6 percent drop in fuel & utilities and a 3.2 percent fall in accommodation) and household durables & services (-0.6 percent from -1.4 percent, mainly due to a 1.0 percent decline in household services & supplies). Cost also dropped for transport (-2.9 percent from -1.5 percent, due to a 3.9 percent decline in private road transport and a 3.6 percent fall in other travel & transport) and communication (-0.9 percent from -0.7 percent). In contrast, upward prices pressures came from: clothing & footwear (+2.5 percent from +2.6 percent) and health care (+0.7 percent from +0.7 percent, mainly due to a 1.0 percent rise in medical & dental treatment). Prices also increased for recreation & culture (+0.1 percent from +0.8 percent, mainly due to a 0.1 percent increase in holiday expenses; a 0.1 percent rise in recreation & entertainment and a 0.2 percent rise in newspapers, book & stationery), education (+2.4 percent from +2.6 percent) and miscellaneous goods & services (+0.5 percent from +0.3 percent).
Prices of food rose 2.0 percent in February, up from a 1.7 percent rise in a month earlier. Among food, cost of food excluding food servicing services increased by 1.5 percent, following a 1.5 percent rise in the preceding month while food servicing services rose 2.2 percent, after a 1.8 percent rise in January. Among food excluding food servicing services, cost increased for all components. Prices of bread & cereals rose 1.6 percent; meat (+1.3 percent); fish & seafood (+0.1 percent); fruits (+3.4 percent); milk, cheese & eggs (+1.4 percent); oils & fats (+1.0 percent); fruits (+2.0 percent), vegetables (+2.3 percent); sugar, preserves & confectionery (+4.9 percent), non-alcoholic beverages (+1.4 percent) and other food (+2.5 percent). Among food servicing services, prices also increased for all categories: restaurant foods (+3.4 percent), fast food (+1.2 percent), hawker food including food courts (+1.6 percent) and catered food (+0.1 percent).
Core inflation, which excludes costs of accommodation and private road transport, rose 0.5 percent year-on-year from 0.4 percent in January and above market estimates of a 0.4 percent rise. It is the highest figure since October 2015.
On a month-on-month basis, consumer prices fell 0.1 percent in February, after declining 0.2 percent in January.