SINGAPORE - Singapore's consumer prices fell for the 17th consecutive month in March, the longest period of decline on record, official data showed on Monday, hit by low fuel costs and as the city-state's economy stutters.
Prices sank 1.0 per cent last month, down 0.2 per centage points from February, the central bank and trade ministry said in a joint statement. The drop comes as the weak oil market makes petrol cheaper, in turn lowering transport costs.
The longest period of falling consumer prices was between September 1975 and December 1976.
The central bank this month announced a shock loosening of monetary policy to kickstart the economy, as it forecast a slower growth outlook this year and analysts warned of a possible recession.
Official data last week showed that the city's crucial exports fell at their fastest pace in three years in March because of falling shipments to major markets Europe and China.
"The slump in oil prices is certainly one of the key factors for the negative inflation," DBS Group Holdings said in a research note before the data release.
DBS senior economist Irvin Seah also warned that the economy will continue to slow in coming months because of excess housing stock, as well as an increase in the number of certificates of entitlement -- a licence to own a vehicle -- issued, which would drive costs down.
Core inflation, which excludes private transport and accommodation costs, was up 0.6 per cent, from 0.5 per cent the month before.