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Quick takes: What Singapore's -0.3% March inflation says about inflation outlook

SINGAPORE's inflation rate came in at -0.3 per cent in March, marking a fifth straight month that headline inflation has been negative.

This was unchanged from February's rate, though private-sector economists had been expecting inflation to dip to -0.5 per cent.

The MAS core inflation measure, which strips out accommodation and private road transport costs, fell to one per cent from February's 1.3 per cent. Economists had been expecting core inflation of 1.1 per cent.

Here's what some of them had to say about the latest inflation report:

UOB economists Francis Tan and Jimmy Koh:

"This would be the longest stretch of 'deflation' since the last 'deflationary period' back in June to December 2009, when consumer prices in Singapore fell from both the lack of consumer demand as well as corporate price-cutting in the aftermath of the global financial crisis.

"At this stage, we remain confident of our current 2015 headline and core inflation forecasts of 0.3 per cent year-on-year and 1.2 per cent year-on-year respectively."

ANZ economists Daniel Wilson and Glenn Maguire:

"The outlook on inflation has not changed. We continue to expect inflation to trend in negative territory for at least the first half of the year before ticking higher in the second."

OCBC economist Selena Ling:

"Core inflation eased from 1.3 per cent year-on-year in February to 1 per cent in March as we anticipated, reflecting modest pass-through from the tight labour market to consumer prices. MTI-MAS reiterated that the pass-through from tight labour markets to consumer prices could be constrained in the near-term due to the moderate growth environment, but anticipates both headline and core inflation to ease further before rising towards the end of the year and into 2016, as global oil prices pick up and the effects of the enhanced medical subsidies fade."

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