Malaysia records eighth consecutive month of deflation, Sept CPI down 1.4%

Malaysia records eighth consecutive month of deflation, Sept CPI down 1.4%
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KUALA LUMPUR (Oct 21): Malaysia's inflation, as measured by the Consumer Price Index (CPI), declined 1.4% in September 2020 from a year earlier, according to the Department of Statistics Malaysia (DOSM). This is the eighth consecutive month that the country has experienced deflation.  

In a statement today, the department's chief statistician Datuk Seri Dr Mohd Uzir Mahidin said the September CPI declined to 120.1 as against 121.8 previously.

“The decrease in the overall index was attributed by the decline in transport (-9.9%), housing, water, electricity, gas and other fuels (-3.0%), and clothing and footwear (-0.6%) which contributed 41.6% to overall weight,” he said.

Nevertheless, Mohd Uzir said the food and non-alcoholic beverages increased by 1.4% to 135.1 as compared to 133.2 in the corresponding month of the preceding year.

“This group contributes 29.5% of CPI weight. Similarly, miscellaneous goods and services [increased] by 2.7%, followed by communication (1.6%) and health (1.1%),” said Mohd Uzir.

The CPI's transport segment declined on cheaper petrol and diesel. In the statement, the department said the average price of unleaded petrol RON95 decreased to RM1.68 per litre compared to RM2.08 in September 2019.

“In addition, the average price of unleaded petrol RON97 decreased to RM1.98 per litre as compared to RM2.58 while the average price of diesel declined to RM1.73 per litre from RM2.18 in the corresponding month of the preceding year,” said DOSM.

On a quarterly basis, the CPI increased 1.5% as compared to the second quarter of 2020; however, CPI on a monthly basis remained unchanged as compared to August 2020, according to DOSM.

“The index for all states decreased between -0.8 to -2.2% in September 2020 as compared to September 2019. The highest decrease was recorded by Melaka (-2.2%), Sabah and Wilayah Persekutuan Labuan (-2.2%), and Kedah and Perlis (-2.2%). It was followed by Sarawak (-2.1%), Negeri Sembilan (-1.9%) and Johor (-1.9%).

“However, all states registered an increase in the index of food and non-alcoholic beverages. The highest increase was recorded by Selangor and Wilayah Persekutuan Putrajaya (2.4%), followed by Terengganu (1.6%), Johor (1.5%) and Perak (1.5%),” said DOSM.

Surin Murugiah