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27 March 2004
People in the lowest income group were hit hardest by higher prices in the second half of last year as the costs of food, education and stationery, and healthcare went up.
According to data from the Department of Statistics (DOS), the consumer
price index (CPI) went up 1.3 per cent for households in the lowest 20 per cent income group, while those in the middle 60 per cent income group saw prices go up 0.7 per cent. The richest people – those in the top 20 per cent income group – had it best. They experienced a 0.3 per cent decline in the CPI.
Across the board, the CPI for the general household climbed 0.6 per cent in the July-December period compared with the second half in 2002.
DOS said the inflation rate for the whole of last year was 0.5 per cent, against 0.4 per cent deflation in 2002. Prices for households in the lowest 20 per cent and middle 60 per cent income brackets rose 1.1 per cent and 0.6 per cent respectively. The higher prices were mainly due to dearer cigarettes, cooked food and electricity tariffs, as well as higher fees paid to foreign universities. But the CPI for the richest group fell 0.4 per cent, as a result of lower car prices, and cheaper accommodation and packaged tours.