WPI declined 0.22% in July

By Alfred Lee, The China Post

The wholesale price index (WPI) in July stood at 97.27 — with the 1996 base index at 100 — which showed a decline of 0.22 percent from the same period last year. This was the fifth month in a row in which wholesale prices declined, the Directorate General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics (DGBAS) disclosed yesterday. The July WPI, however, showed a 0.20 percent increase over June’s WPI. The January-July wholesale price index (WPI) declined 0.06 percent from the same period last year.

The July consumer price index (CPI) grew by 0.11 percent to 103.41 — with the 1996 base index at 100. The January-July average CPI increased by 0.27 percent over that of the same period last year.

The July CPI showed a 0.3 percent decline from the CPI in June this year. The monthly CPI decline was due to discount sales in the apparel industry, reduced transportation prices, and housing accommodation prices. The DGBAS said that the price decline in the apparel industry in July averaged 5.63 percent, and that of transportation was down 0.51 percent, housing accommodation was down 0.18 percent.

The July CPI decline for the transportation sector was attributed to reduced oil prices by Chinese Petroleum Corp. and Formosa Plastics.

The July CPI increase of 0.11 percent over that of the same period of last year was due to the increased prices of education and entertainment, and medical services. Prices for education and entertainment in July increased 2.68 percent mainly due to an 6.14 percent increase in tuitions. Medical service costs in July grew by 2.28 percent because of adjusted prices of expensive medicines.

Import commodity prices in July declined by 0.39 percent, compared with the prices in June. The main reasons for the decline were the slipping prices of crude oil, copper, nickel, zinc, and cotton.

Prices of crude and fuel oil in July dropped by 5.64 percent due to the softening prices on the international market, the DGBAS said.

Import wholesale prices of basic metals, including copper, nickel, and zinc, in July decreased by 2.00 percent. Prices for vehicles, automobile, and motor cycle parts in July was 1.98 percent; textile and textile products, 1.51 percent, and machinery, optical products, and precision instruments, 1.39 percent.

Wholesale agricultural prices in July went up 14.98 percent; those of fishery products, 7.20 percent; poultry, 2.46 percent. The price hikes of agricultural products were mainly due to production cutback resulting from rainy weather.

The DGBAS disclosed that the July WPI growth rates in the January-June period were 3.7 percent in the U.S., 0.7 percent in Japan, 1.7 percent in Singapore, 2.8 percent in South Korea, and 4.8 percent in Malaysia, compared with the January-July WPI decline of 0.1 percent in Taiwan.

The July CPI of the January-June period were up 3.4 percent in the U.S.; down 1.6 percent Hong Kong; down 0.3 percent in Japan; up 1.5 percent in Malaysia; up 1.7 percent in Singapore; up 4.8 percent in South Korea; and 0.3 percent in Taiwan.