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Thai Dec consumer prices fall for 12th straight month
[BANGKOK] Thailand's annual headline consumer prices slipped for a 12th consecutive month in December due mainly to lower oil prices, giving the central bank leeway to keep interest rates low to support the economy.
The index, published by the Commerce Ministry on Monday, fell 0.85 per cent in December from a year earlier, compared with a Reuters poll forecast for a 0.81 per cent decline.
The core inflation rate, which strips out raw food and energy prices, was at 0.68 per cent in December, from 0.88 per cent in the previous month.
Consumer prices have also been held down by state price controls and weak consumption since an army coup in May 2014 ended months of political unrest.
The Bank of Thailand will maintain its current headline inflation target of 1-4 per cent in 2016.
The central bank expects annual headline consumer prices to rise 0.8 per cent in 2016.
Its monetary policy committee has left its benchmark interest rate unchanged at 1.50 per cent, following cuts in March and April. The committee reviews policy on Feb 3, and most economists expect no change for now.