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May inflation benign in Indonesia as prices held during Ramadan

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BPS head Suhariyanto (left) speaks to the press in Jakarta. PRIMA WIRAYANI/THE JAKARTA POST

May inflation benign in Indonesia as prices held during Ramadan

Indonesia booked month-to-month inflation of 0.68 per cent in May, higher than the 0.44 per cent registered in April, as an uptick in demand during the fasting month fuelled food prices, Statistics Indonesia (Badan Pusat Statistik, BPS) announced on Monday.

Consumer spending usually increases in Ramadan, which began on May 5 this year, leading to above-average monthly inflation.

The latest inflation data brought year-to-date inflation to 1.48 per cent, while year-on-year inflation stood at 3.32 per cent.

May’s year-on-year inflation was slightly higher than in the same period last year, when it was 3.23 per cent, but much lower than the 4.33 per cent seen in May 2017.

BPS head Suhariyanto said in Jakarta on Monday that inflation remain largely under control. The government has a target range of 3.5 per cent to 4.5 per cent for annual inflation.

Foodstuff prices rose by 2.02 per cent month-to-month as red chilli, chicken, fish and eggs, among other products, became more expensive last month. Meanwhile, the recent shallot harvest brought down prices of the commodity in May, while rice prices also dropped.

The second-highest contributor to May’s month-to-month inflation was the category of processed food, beverages, cigarettes and tobacco with 0.56 per cent month-to-month inflation.

Meanwhile, persistently high airfares had minimal impact on inflation in May, Suhariyanto said, as ticket prices had already been on the rise since January.

The category of transportation, communication and financial services recorded 0.54 per cent month-to-month inflation last month, primarily driven by higher prices of intercity transportation, air travel and train tickets.

“The month-to-month [inflation on airline tickets] was not large, because prices had already increased [in previous months], although the government had already lowered the price ceiling for airlines,” said Suhariyanto. “That being said, the price increase in airline tickets contributed 0.3 per cent to the 3.32 per cent year-on-year inflation [in May].” THE JAKARTA POST/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

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