SINGAPORE – Inflation slowed in the first half of the year but households in the lowest 20 per cent income group faced a marginally larger impact than the rest, according to data released on Tuesday (July 23) by the Department of Statistics.

The consumer price index (CPI) excluding imputed rentals on owner-occupied accommodation rose by 1.4 per cent for the lowest 20 per cent income group.

It was 1 per cent for the middle 60 per cent income group and 1.1 per cent for the highest 20 per cent income group.

The CPI excluding imputed rentals on owner-occupied accommodation rose by 1.1 per cent for general households in the first half of the year, slower than the 1.3 per cent increase posted in the second half of 2018.

The Department of Statistics said: “For all three income groups, the increase in their respective CPI excluding owner-occupied accommodation was due to a rise in the prices of food and water, as well as higher tuition and other fees, medical and dental treatment costs, holiday expenses, bus and train fares and housing maintenance and repair costs, which collectively outweighed the lower costs of rented accommodation and telecommunication services.”

Medical and dental treatment costs take into account government subsidies and support for MediShield Life premiums, including the progressive phasing down of transitional subsidies provided over the first four years of MediShield Life.

The department noted that price increases for these expenditure items had a smaller impact on the middle and highest-income groups as they accounted for a lower share of their total expenditure.

However, it was the highest 20 per cent household income group that saw the largest price increase when it came to overall inflation.

Overall inflation, or CPI-All Items, rose by 0.8 per cent for the highest income group in the first half of the year.

It rose by 0.5 per cent for the lowest 20 per cent and middle 60 per cent income groups.

The department said: “Households in the highest 20 per cent income group experienced a smaller decline in their imputed rentals on owner-occupied accommodation, while the expenditure share of imputed rentals in their CPI basket was also lower.”

It added that private road transport costs for this income group also rose, even as that for the other income groups fell.

CPI-All Items rose by 0.6 per cent year on year in the first half of 2019, the same pace of increase as that recorded in the second half of last year.