Malaysia April CPI down 2.9% — biggest drop in 10 years

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KUALA LUMPUR (May 20): Malaysia’s inflation, as measured by the consumer price index (CPI), declined 2.9% in April 2020 from a year earlier, due to the drop in prices of transport, housing, water, electricity and fuel, according to the Statistics Department today.

The 2.9% drop on the CPI is the sharpest year-on-year fall recorded since 2010 as the historical data show (see chart).

The CPI had been on the decline for the second consecutive month in April 2020 after March 2020’s 0.2% decline, according to the department.

In January and February 2020, the CPI rose 1.6% and 1.3% on-year respectively, the department said.

Chief statistician Datuk Seri Dr Mohd Uzir Mahidin said in the statement: “The decrease in the overall index was driven by the decline of transport (-21.5%) and housing, water, electricity, gas and other fuels (-2.2%) which contributed 14.6% and 23.8% of overall weight.”

The lower average price of RON95 fuel in April 2020 at RM1.27 per litre compared to RM2.08 in April 2019 contributed to the decrease in the transport and overall index, read the statement.

"In addition, the average price of RON97 decreased to RM1.57 per litre as compared to RM2.71 while diesel declined to RM1.49 per litre from RM2.18 in the corresponding month of the preceding year.

"Nevertheless, food and non-alcoholic beverages continued to increase in April 2020 by 1.2% to 133.9 as compared to 132.3 in [the] corresponding month of the preceding year. Food and non-alcoholic beverages contributes 29.5% of CPI weight. Similarly, miscellaneous goods and services also [rose] by 2.3%, followed by communication (1.6%), health (1.2%) and education (1.2%),” the department said.

On a monthly basis, April 2020 CPI decreased 2.7%, according to the department.

Year to date, the CPI decreased 0.1% between January and April 2020 from a year earlier, it said.

Mohd Uzir said: “CPI without fuel for vehicles (RON95, RON97 and diesel) is at a positive rate of 0.2% while core index rose 1.3% in April 2020 as compared to the same month of the previous year. Core index excludes most volatile items of fresh food as well as administered prices of goods and services.”