In February, prices of food advanced 1.5 percent from a year earlier, faster than a 1.1 percent rise in January. It was the highest food inflation in three months. Among food excluding food servicing services, cost increased for most categories: meat (0.4 percent); milk, cheese & eggs (7.3 percent); oils & fats (2.9 percent); sugar, preserves & confectionery (0.7 percent) and other food (0.6 percent). Meantime, prices were flat for vegetables while declined for bread & cereals (-0.1 percent) and non-alcoholic beverages (-0.1 percent). Among food servicing services, prices went up for all categories: restaurant foods (1.7 percent); fast food (0.6 percent), hawker food including food courts (1.4 percent) and catered food (1 percent).
In addition, cost went up at a faster pace for healthcare (2.5 percent from 2.3 percent in January), mainly due to a 2.7 percent rise in medical & dental treatment and a 1.5 percent gain in medical products, appliances & equipment) and recreation & culture (1.6 percent from 0.8 percent), driven by a 1 percent rise in recreation & entertainment and a 2.5 percent rise in holiday expenses. Also, cost of education rose by 2.9 percent, following a 2.8 percent rise in the preceding month, due to a 3 percent rise in tuition & other fees and a 0.3 percent gain in school textbooks & related study guides.
Meanwhile, cost rose less for: transport (0.6 percent from 0.7 percent), largely due to a 0.6 percent rise in private road transport and a 4.5 percent increase in other travel & transport; household durables & services (0.8 percent from 1.2 percent, largely due to a 1.7 percent increase in household services & supplies) and miscellaneous goods & services (0.4 percent from 0.5 percent), due to a 1.5 percent rise in personal care, a 0.6 percent increase in alcoholic drinks & tobacco and a 0.3 percent rise in other miscellaneous expenditure. Also, cost of clothing & footwear went up by 0.7 percent, slowing from a 1 percent rise in January.
On the other hand, cost fell for housing & utilities (-2.1 percent from -3.6 percent, mainly due to a 3.6 percent decline in accomodation) and communication (-0.1 percent from a flat reading in the preceding month).
Core consumer prices which exclude costs of accommodation and private road transport, increased by 1.7 percent, following a 1.4 percent gain in January and slightly above expectations of 1.6 percent. It is the highest level since April 2017.