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Thai August consumer prices fall for 8th straight month
[BANGKOK] Thailand's annual headline consumer prices dropped for an eighth straight month in August, mainly due to lower oil prices, giving the central bank leeway to keep interest rates low to support a sputtering economy.
The index, published by the Commerce Ministry, fell 1.19 per cent in August from a year earlier, compared with a Reuters poll forecast for a 1.02 per cent drop.
The core inflation rate, which strips out raw food and energy prices, was at 0.89 per cent versus 0.94 per cent in July.
Inflation has also been held down by government price controls and still-weak consumption since an army coup in May 2014 ended months of political unrest.
Despite flagging economic growth, the central bank has said it has limited scope to ease monetary policy further after it surprisingly cut its policy interest rate in March and April, taking it to 1.50 per cent - just above the record low of 1.25 per cent.
It next reviews policy on Sept 16, and economists expect no change for now, given a weak baht and the government's planned economic stimulus measures.