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Thai May headline consumer prices dip for first time in 14 months
[BANGKOK] Thailand's annual headline consumer prices unexpectedly dropped for the first time in 14 months, due mainly to last year's high comparative figure, government data showed on Thursday, giving the central bank room to keep interest rates low to aid economic recovery.
Headline consumer prices dipped 0.04 per cent in May, compared with the 0.17 per cent rise forecast in a Reuters poll. The ministry said last year's food prices were high because of drought.
In April, the index rose 0.38 per cent from a year earlier.
The central bank targets headline inflation of 1-4 per cent.
The core CPI index, which excludes raw food and energy prices, rose 0.46 per cent in May from a year earlier, against a rise of 0.50 per cent seen in the poll. In April, it was 0.50 per cent.
Inflation in Thailand has been contained by state price controls, subsidies and sluggish domestic demand.
The central bank has left its benchmark interest rate unchanged at 1.50 per cent, near the record low, since a cut in April 2015.
It next reviews monetary policy on July 5. Most economists expect no policy change through 2017.