KUALA LUMPUR – The nation’s inflation, measured by Consumer Price Index (CPI), rose by 2.8% year-on-year (Y-o-Y) from the 123.1 recorded in May 2021 to 126.6 in May of this year.
The Department of Statistics Malaysia (DOSM) reported in a recent statement that the hike had exceeded Malaysia’s average inflation rate of 1.9% for the period of January 2011 to May 2022.
According to chief statistician, Datuk Sri Mohd Uzir Mahidin, food inflation had continued to soar to new heights of 5.2%, the highest recorded level since November 2011. He said that 93% of the items classified in the group had experienced price hikes.
“Of the products, 29.4% of them showed an increase in the range of less than 5%, 37.7% increased between 5% and 10%, and 32.9% had increased by more than 10%,” he explained.
Additionally, the cost of transportation grew by 3.9%, while restaurants and hotels showed a 3.7% growth. Meanwhile, inflation for furnishings, household equipment and routine household maintenance rose by 2.9%, followed by the miscellaneous goods and services and recreation services and culture which each grew by 1.9% and 1.8% respectively.
Housing, water, electricity, gas and other fuels had their cost up by 1.2% while education saw an increase of 1%.
The DOSM statement had shown that the alcoholic beverages and tobacco, and the health categories had also seen a marginal growth of 0.4% compared to May 2021, although the communications category had remained unchanged for the same period under review.
Furthermore, Mohd Uzir stated that the food at home category had also shown an increase, recording 5.5% in May of 2022, compared to the 4.1% in April this year while the food away from home recorded 5.1% against April 2022’s levels of 4.4%. This causes food inflation to grow.
Food cost highest contributor of inflation
When breaking down the food at home category into sub-groups, he explained that the meat subgroup recorded the highest incline of 9.5% in May compared to the 6.2% in April. This was a result of the higher demand caused by festive seasons.
Other food subgroups also showed an increase, like vegetables (8.1%); milk, cheese and eggs (8.0%); fish and seafood (4.3%); and the oils and fats (3.7%).
Consequently, rice with side dishes (8.3%), roti canai (7.8%), noodle-based food (5.7%), and cooked chicken (5.1%) have also recorded a substantial growth for the food away from home category, he explained.
He stated that the increased cost of feed combined with a rise in demand caused the price increase of chicken this time around.
As chicken makes up 46.1%, the largest part of the meat subgroup, its prices soared 13.4% in May 2022 compared to the 7.5% increase in April this year, he said.
Additionally, May 2022 also saw the average price of chicken being sold at RM9.70 per KG as compared to the RM8.44 in May of 2021.
Meanwhile, the inflation of vegetable prices in the market was mostly due to the increasing cost of fertiliser, logistics, labour shortages as well as weather conditions, he added.
The report had also stated that the transport group’s price inflated due to the hiking average prices of the RON97 unleaded petrol. It spiked by 63.8% to RM4.26 per litre in May 2022, compared to the RM2.60 in May of 2021.
The rise in petrol prices had a direct impact on the price of Brent crude oil which rose by 65.2% to US$112.37 per barrel in May of this year.
The report stated that the subsidies of RON 95 and diesel which are in place has mitigated inflation for this group. The price of RON95 had been kept at RM2.05 per litre since March of last year.
With regards to the inflation at state level, Mohd Uzir noted that Selangor and the Putrajaya Federal Territory had registered the highest increase of 3.7%.
The three states with the lowest hike of inflation were Kedah and Perlis (2.2%), Sabah and Labuan (2.2%), and Melaka (2.1%).
All the states had reported an inflation growth in the food and non-alcoholic beverages category. Selangor and Putrajaya marked the highest growth by 6.7%. Johor (6.0%), Penang (5.8%) and Perak (5.2%) rounded out the list.
At the same time, inflation for the group with incomes below RM3,000 had climbed 2.9% to 127.2 in May of this year, as compared to the 123.6 recorded in May 2021. This was due to the 5.4% increase in the food and non-alcoholic beverages group that saw a 0.2 percentage point growth compared to the national food inflation rate.
Additionally, he said that the increases were from the subgroups of meat by 9.4%; milk, cheese and eggs by 9%; and vegetables by 7.5%.
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