SINGAPORE - Singapore's annual consumer price inflation slowed to 0.4 percent in January from 0.5 percent the previous month, data showed on Monday, and authorities lowered their inflation forecast for 2019.
The inflation rate in January was slower than expected. The median forecast from a Reuters poll had been 0.6 percent.
In a joint statement issued Monday, Singapore's central bank and trade ministry revised down their forecast for 2019 CPI-All Items inflation to 0.5-1.5 percent from 1-2 percent, citing an expected decline in global oil prices this year.
However, the central bank's core inflation forecast - a closely-watched indicator for monetary policy - was kept unchanged at 1.5-2.5 percent.
Core inflation in January rose 1.7 percent year-on-year. The median forecast in the Reuters poll was for a 1.9 percent rise, unchanged from December's print.
The central bank is due to hold the first of its semi-annual policy meetings in April.
"Global oil prices are expected to be lower this year compared to 2018," the Monetary Authority of Singapore and the Ministry of Trade and Industry said, adding that domestic price pressures will be capped by greater competition in sectors such as telecommunications, electricity and retail."
Jeff Ng, chief economist, Asia, at Continuum Economics said that, while he still expects the MAS to tighten monetary policy in April, there was a growing chance that it could stand pat.