Malaysia's annual inflation rate edged up to 1.5 percent in August 2019 from 1.4 percent in the previous month and in line with market expectations. Food inflation accelerated to a 16-month high while housing & utilities prices slowed.
Food & non-alcoholic beverage prices increased by 2.6 percent year-on-year in August, the most since April last year, compared to a 2.4 percent rise in July, boosted by milk & eggs (3.4 percent vs 2.6 percent); fish & seafood (0.9 percent vs 0.4 percent); and meat (0.6 percent vs -1.6 percent). On the other hand, prices eased for vegetables (3.2 percent vs 4.7 percent); fruits (1.7 percent vs 2.5 percent); and food products (1.4 percent vs 1.5 percent). Additionally, inflation was steady for both food away from home inflation (4.4 percent) and rice, bread & other cereals (0.7 percent).
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Also, prices advanced further for communication (2.2 percent vs 2.1 percent); alcoholic beverages & tobacco (2.5 percent vs 2.3 percent); miscellaneous goods & services (2.5 percent vs 1.8 percent), and health (1.4 percent vs 1.3 percent).
In contrast, cost slowed for housing, water, electricity, gas, & other fuels (1.8 percent vs 1.9 percent); recreation services & culture (2.3 percent vs 2.4 percent), and household equipment & routine maintenance (3.2 percent vs 3.3 percent). In addition, cost of transport dropped further (-2.1 percent vs -1.9 percent) and clothing and footwear prices continued to fall (-1.1 percent, the same pace as in July). Also, inflation was steady for education (at 1.4 percent) and restaurants and hotels (at 1.7 percent).
Core consumer prices, which exclude most volatile items of fresh food as well as administered prices of goods and services, rose 2.0 percent in August, the same pace as in July, remaining at its highest since January last year.
On a monthly basis, consumer prices went up 0.2 percent in August, following a 0.1 percent gain in the prior month.