May 20, 2020 / 4:02 AM / 18 days ago

Malaysia's April CPI falls 2.9%, more than forecast

* reuters://realtime/verb=Open/url=cpurl://apps.cp./Apps/econ-polls?RIC=MYCPI%3DECI poll data

KUALA LUMPUR, May 20 (Reuters) - Malaysia’s economy remained in deflation for the second month in a row in April, with the consumer price index (CPI) falling 2.9% from a year earlier, government data showed on Wednesday.

Consumer prices in March had fallen for the first time since February last year, easing 0.2% due to cheaper pump prices.

A Reuters poll had forecast an annual fall of 1.6% in April.

April’s decline was driven largely by lower retail fuel prices during the month, with the transport sector index plummeting 21.5% from a year earlier, the Statistics Department said in a statement.

The housing and utilities component, which contributes 23.8% to the overall index, also fell 2.2%.

The decline, however, was offset by higher prices in most of the main groups tracked by the index, including food and beverages, household furnishings and equipment, and communication, the department said.

Average headline inflation was expected to turn negative this year on substantially lower global oil prices, Malaysia’s central bank said earlier this month. (Reporting by Rozanna Latiff; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman)

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