Malaysia's February CPI falls 0.4 pct y/y, below forecast

KUALA LUMPUR, March 22 (Reuters) - Malaysia's economy remained in deflation for the second month in a row in February, with the consumer price index falling 0.4 percent from a year earlier, government data showed on Friday.

The index turned negative in January for the first time since November 2009, declining 0.7 percent year-on-year amid a sharp drop in retail fuel costs.

A Reuters poll had forecast a 0.3 percent annual fall in February's CPI.

February's decline was driven by lower fuel prices, with the transport sector index falling 6.8 percent from a year earlier, data from the statistics department showed.

The decline, however, was offset by higher prices of housing and utilities, restaurants and hotels, and food, the data showed.

Price pressures have moderated since the government withdrew an unpopular consumption tax in June 2018 and reinstated a narrower sales and services tax (SST) three months later.

The central bank has said, however, that Malaysia did not face serious deflationary pressures. Headline inflation, which came in at 1 percent in 2018, was likely to average higher this year, Bank Negara Malaysia said. (Reporting by Rozanna Latiff; Editing by Gopakumar Warrier)

2019-03-22 06:00:22

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