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Inflation rises 1.74% in Taiwan in May

Inflation rises 1.74% in Taiwan in May

Taipei, June 5 (CNA) Taiwan's consumer price index (CPI) rose to 108.57 in May, up 1.74 percent from the year-earlier level, the Directorate General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics reported Tuesday. Food prices rose the most of any category in the index in May, at 3.75 percent, mainly because fruit and vegetable prices were relatively higher than last year due to weather conditions and the fact that 2011 was a bumper year for some products, an official said. But falls in pork prices, communications service charges and 3C electronic product prices offset some of the increases, said Wang Shu-chuan, a section chief with the agency's Department of Statistics. The decline in communications service charges, including falls in charges for local and long-distance calls and mobile and Internet services, helped drive down the CPI by 0.28 percentage points, Wang said. "If not for a drop in communications service charges (as high as 10.15 percent), the CPI in May would have risen 2 percent," Wang said. The government has targeted inflation at below 2 percent for the year, with Economics Minister Shih Yen-shiang vowing in April to step down if the target was not met. Taiwan's wholesale price index (WPI) was 111.90 in May, down 0.64 percent from the year-earlier level and down 0.89 percent from the previous month. Wang said that with concerns over a global economic slump, the prices of agricultural and industrial raw materials were falling, and that the fall in the WPI for three consecutive months indicated that inflationary pressures in Taiwan are gradually easing. (By Lin Hui-chun and Lilian Wu)