Taiwan’s inflation unexpectedly accelerated in December, even as the government said it will check price gains as it tries to bolster economic growth.
Consumer prices rose 1.61 percent from a year earlier, after climbing a previously reported 1.59 percent in November, the statistics bureau said in Taipei today. The median of 12 estimates in a Bloomberg News survey was 1.38 percent.
The central bank refrained from raising interest rates last year to manage price gains as it tries to support the economy amid a global slowdown. Taiwan aims to keep inflation at below 2 percent in 2013 while boosting growth to 3.8 percent from around 1 percent currently, Premier Sean Chen said last month.
“The downward trend in inflation numbers is gradually coming to a halt,” Ma Tieying, a Singapore-based economist at DBS Group Holdings Ltd., said before the report. “That said, a rebound in inflation is unlikely to take place soon, given the lingering weakness in domestic demand.”
The Taiwan dollar gained more than 4 percent last year against its U.S. counterpart, the fourth-best performer among 11 most-traded Asian currencies tracked by Bloomberg News.
Food prices climbed 1.87 percent last month from a year earlier, today’s report showed, compared with a 2.28 percent pace in November. Transportation gained 2.23 percent and medical care advanced 1.6 percent.
Core consumer prices, a category excluding vegetables, fruits, fish and energy, advanced 1.09 percent. Wholesale prices, which track the cost of goods sold to retailers and producers, fell 3.96 percent.