SINGAPORE, April 23 (Xinhua) -- Singapore's consumer price inflation (CPI) in March eased to 3.5 percent, compared with the surge of 4.9 percent for February, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and the Ministry of Trade and Industry jointly announced on Tuesday.
The MAS said this was mainly due to "smaller price increases across all major categories in the CPI, with private road transport cost accounting for the bulk of the moderation."
In particular, the city-state's private road transport cost rose at a much slower pace of 8.6 percent in March, eased from that of 17.4 percent in February. It reflected weaker Certificates of Entitlement (COE) premiums in that month and price adjustments by car dealers following the introduction of financing restrictions on motor vehicle loans.
The central bank said the contribution of private road transport cost to CPI-All Items inflation fell to half of that in February.
On the other hand, the accommodation cost inflation edged down to 5.8 percent compared with the 5.9 percent inflation in the preceding month.
Together, the costs of private road transport and accommodation accounted for more than two-thirds of CPI-All Items inflation in March.
Food inflation registered at 1.8 percent in March, compared with 2.3 percent in February, as the seasonal effect from Chinese New Year dissipated.
The MAS core inflation, which excludes accommodation and private road transport costs, edged down to 1.7 percent, lower than that of 1.9 percent 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."
The central bank said the imported inflation will remain subdued, "given ample supply buffers in the commodity markets." However, "domestic cost pressures are expected to persist amid continuing tightness in the labor market, and could result in a slightly stronger pace of cost pass-through to prices of consumer services."
The central bank had lowered its forecast for the core inflation at 1.5 percent to 2.5 percent for the whole year in its latest Monetary Policy Statement, while the CPI-All items inflation was also be lowered at 3 percent to 4 percent in 2013.