Taiwan's consumer prices up 0.31 percent in November

Taipei, Dec. 5 (CNA) Taiwan's consumer prices rose 0.31 percent in November from a year earlier, the smallest increase in 13 months, government statistics showed Wednesday.Meanwhile, the core consumer price index (CPI), which excludes fruit, vegetables and energy, rose 0.67 percent year-on-year, the smallest increase in 21 months, according to the Directorate General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics (DGBAS).The low year-on-year CPI growth for November was not because of low consumption, but rather was due to a drop in vegetable prices, a moderate increase in fuel prices and the diminishing effects of a tobacco tax hike in June 2016, according to leading DGBAS specialist Hsu Chien-chung.He said stable weather conditions in recent weeks led to a decline in vegetable prices. In November, vegetable prices fell nearly 20 percent from the previous month and 22.64 percent from a year earlier, the steepest year-on-year decline in 13 months. The drop in vegetable prices contributed to a 0.46 percentage point drop of the CPI in November, Hsu said.Meanwhile, with the fall of international crude oil prices, the increase in fuel prices in Taiwan was a moderate 7.62 percent in November, compared with an 18.61 percent hike the previous month, and contributed only 0.23 percentage points to the CPI growth, he said.Consumer prices in Taiwan have increased considerably since the beginning of the year due mainly to the tobacco tax hike in 2016, Hu said.However, by September and October this year, the effects of that tax hike began to fade and tobacco prices increased 7.20 percent in November from a year earlier, pushing up the CPI by 0.11 percentage points, he said.In the first 11 months of this year, after excluding tobacco, the core CPI rose 0.87 percent from a year earlier, compared with a 0.8 percent-1.0 percent growth of the core CPI over the past three years, Hsu said.This was an indication that consumer prices in Taiwan remained stable and consumer spending still had momentum, he added.The wholesale price index (WPI) rose 3.25 percent in November from a year earlier, reflecting the smallest increases in the prices of oil, coal, chemical goods and drugs in nearly seven months, he said.The slight growth of the WPI was due to declining demand amid a trade war between China and the United States, a drop in the international prices of raw material and an increase in output by some oil producing countries, Hsu said.