Private road transport cost rose by 8.6% in March, down from 17.4% a month earlier. This reflected weaker COE premiums in February and price adjustments by car dealers following the introduction of financing restrictions on motor vehicle loans. As a result, the contribution of private road transport cost to CPI-All Items inflation fell to 1.2% points in March, half that in February.
Accommodation cost inflation edged down to 5.8% in March from 5.9% in the preceding month as a result of a slightly smaller increase in market rentals. Nevertheless, imputed rentals on owner-occupied accommodation (OOA) continued to contribute a significant 1% point to overall inflation.
Together, the costs of private road transport and accommodation accounted for more than two-thirds of CPI-All Items inflation in March.
Food inflation was 1.8% in March, down from 2.3% in February, as the seasonal effect from Chinese New Year dissipated.
The rise in services fees slowed to 2.5% in March from 2.7% in February, led by a moderation in household services cost increases.
Prices of oil-related items declined by a steeper 2.8% in March compared to the 0.2% fall in February, mainly due to lower petrol pump prices.
CPI less imputed rentals on owner-occupied accommodation (CPI-ex OOA) rose at a slower pace of 3.0%.
Inflation as measured by CPI less imputed rentals on OOA (CPI-ex OOA) fell to 3.0% in March from 4.6% a month earlier, given lower contributions from private road transport, oil-related items, food and services.
MAS Core Inflation, which excludes the costs of accommodation and private road transport, eased to 1.7% in March from 1.9% in February on account of more moderate increases in the costs of food and services as well as a decline in the prices of oil-related items.
On a month-on-month basis, CPI-All Items fell by 0.5% in March following an increase of 1.0% in February. MAS Core Inflation was -0.1% compared to 0.4% in February.