November 21, 2018 / 7:38 AM / a month ago

Singapore's Oct headline inflation seen edging higher to 17-month high: Reuters poll

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Singapore’s annual all-items inflation in October likely edged higher to a 17-month high, a Reuters poll showed on Wednesday.

FILE PHOTO: A woman shops for shoes in Singapore April 24, 2017. REUTERS/Edgar Su

The city-state’s headline consumer price index probably rose 0.8 percent in October from a year earlier, the poll of 10 economists showed, accelerating from September’s 0.7 percent climb.

The pick-up was due to a “gradual improvement in domestic demand”, said Charnon Boonnuch, an economist with Nomura.

The poll also showed that the Monetary Authority of Singapore’s (MAS) core inflation measure also likely increased to 1.9 percent in October from a year earlier, compared to a 1.8 percent rise the previous month.

The central bank’s core inflation measure excludes changes in the price of cars and accommodation, which are influenced more by government policies.

“The MAS Core Inflation is also expected to inch higher... and is on track to exceed 2 percent slightly toward year-end,” ANZ said in a research note to clients.

A higher core inflation measure would give the MAS a case to tighten monetary policy further, analysts said.

“We still hold that the MAS will further tighten in 2019,” said Nomura’s Boonnuch.

Singapore’s central bank in October tightened monetary policy for the second time this year, saying the city-state’s economy is likely to expand steadily barring a setback to global growth from trade frictions between the United States and China.

“This (higher core inflation in October) validates MAS’ decision,” said Vishnu Varathan, head of economics and strategy at Mizuho Bank.

Reporting by Fathin Ungku; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu

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