SINGAPORE – Core inflation remained in negative territory for the second straight month in March, on the back of a steeper decline in the cost of services.

The measure, which excludes accommodation and private road transport costs, slipped to minus 0.2 per cent on a year-on-year basis last month, lower than the -0.1 per cent posted in February, according to figures released by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) on Thursday (April 23).

Overall inflation came in at 0 per cent year-on-year in March, compared with 0.3 per cent in the preceding month.

This mainly reflected a fall in the cost of private transport and a steeper decline in the cost of services, MAS and MTI said.

Last month, the MAS lowered its 2020 forecast range for both core inflation, which excludes the costs of accommodation and private road transport, and overall consumer price inflation to -1 per cent to 0 per cent.

Consumer prices are falling as the coronavirus pandemic stalls business activity and caused lockdowns.

MAS and MTI said on Thursday that oil prices should stay low for an extended period and will weigh on the prices of energy-related components.

At the same time, international measures to contain the Covid-19 outbreak have led to supply chain disruptions, which could put some upward pressure on imported food prices, MAS and MTI said on Thursday.

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