Taipei, Despite a spike in Taiwan's consumer price index (CPI) in February, inflation has not risen, Chu Tzer-ming (???), head of the Directorate-General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics (DGBAS), said Monday.
In a hearing in the legislative finance committee, Chu said the CPI's year-on-year jump of 2.19 percent in February was seasonal, as the Lunar New Year holiday fell in that month.
In February, payments to babysitters rose 8.93 percent from a year earlier, while education/entertainment expenses costs grew 1.81 percent year-on-year, according to DGBAS data.
Chu said that during the Lunar New Year holiday, many parents observed the tradition of giving cash gifts to babysitters, while travel expenses increased during that period.
After seasonal adjustments, however, Taiwan's consumer price growth remained in check, he said, adding that in the first two months of the year, the CPI grew 1.54 percent, which was within the government's target range of 2 percent.
The core CPI, which excludes vegetables, fruit and energy, grew 1.61 percent in February from a year earlier, Chu said.
However, opposition Kuomintang lawmaker Lai Shyh-bao (???) said the 1.54 percent increase of the CPI in the first two months of the year failed to reflect the true picture of rising prices of a wide range of daily necessities.
The prices of consumer items such as toilet paper and chicken have increased following the government's 3 percent salary hike on Jan. 1 and similar pay increases in the private sector, Lai said.
In response, Chu said that while the prices of some daily necessities had indeed increased, certain information technology products had been marked down and some living costs had dropped.
Taiwan, therefore, is facing little inflationary pressure since consumer price growth remains under 2 percent, he said.
Commenting on the Ministry of Economic Affairs' upcoming discussions on electricity rates, Chu said a 1 percent increase would push up consumer prices by 0.027 percent and pinch economic growth by 0.014 percent.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel