Inflation rises to 4.3%

By NG MIN SHEN / Pic By MUHD AMIN NAHARUL

Inflation rose 4.3% in September, higher than 3.7% recorded a month earlier, as higher fuel prices added pressure to the cost of goods and services.

RON95 petrol prices averaged at RM2.19 per litre for the month compared to RM2.12 per litre in August, said Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM).

The central bank said the higher global refined oil prices was due to higher demand for crude oil as refineries in the US resumed operations after Hurricane Harvey.

Inflation rocketed to 5.1% in March, a near nine-year high as higher fuel prices hurt consumer sentiments.

In March, the average price of one litre of RON95 petrol was RM2.29 compared to RM1.60 a year earlier. RON97’s average price was RM2.59 in March 2017.

Presently, RON95 petrol costs RM2.20 a litre while RON97 is being sold at RM2.50 at the pump, about nine sen less from the average price in March this year.

However, BNM said underlying inflation — as measured by core inflation — remained stable at 2.4% in September.

Meanwhile, the ringgit was the best performing currency in the region, strengthening between 0.3% and 3.1% against all regional currencies in September, supported by non-resident inflows of RM5.8 billion into the government bond market.

Sustained growth boosted investors’ interest in both the bond and equity markets.

“Nevertheless, the gains in the equity market reversed towards the end of the month amid foreign selling following uncertainty over geopolitical developments,” BNM said.

Net financing growth remained at 6.6% in September, the same as the month prior. Net outstanding issuances of corporate bonds grew to 10.9% in September, compared to 9% in August.