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Singapore inflation down further to -0.8% in Feb, but core inflation rises to 0.5%

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Singapore's headline inflation eased in February to -0.8 per cent from January's -0.6 per cent, due to steeper declines in accommodation and private road transport costs.

SINGAPORE's headline inflation eased in February to -0.8 per cent from January's -0.6 per cent, due to steeper declines in accommodation and private road transport costs.

Core inflation - which strips out both of the components - edged up to 0.5 per cent in February from 0.4 per cent a month earlier.

The 17 economists polled by Bloomberg before the Department of Statistics released the data on Wednesday had forecast headline inflation at -0.7 per cent, and core inflation at 0.3 per cent.

Amid weaker Certificate of Entitlement (COE) premiums, private road transport costs fell 3.9 per cent compared with the 1.8 per cent drop in January.

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And as the housing rental market continued to soften, accommodation cost dropped 3.2 per cent - extending the 3.1 per cent decline in the previous month.

Still, food inflation rose 2 per cent in February from 1.7 per cent in January, due to a larger increase in the prices of prepared meals (including restaurant, hawker, and fast food).

Overall services inflation was 0.5 per cent in February - unchanged from January. "While domestic services cost saw a stronger pickup, this was offset by a more moderate increase in holiday expenses," said the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) in joint comments.

MAS and MTI retained their 2016 inflation forecasts at -1 per cent to flat for overall inflation, and 0.5 per cent to 1.5 per cent for core inflation.

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