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Smoking and other vices turn 11% more expensive in Singapore

SINGAPORE, April 24: Smoking in Singapore, one of the priciest places in the world to light up, has gotten more expensive.

The cost of cigarettes and alcoholic beverages in the city-state increased 11% from a year earlier in March, according to the latest inflation data from the Singapore Department of Statistics.

That follows a 15% increase in excise duty for all tobacco products in the local government’s budget for 2023, a move expected to generate $100 million in additional revenue per year

In another development, Singapore’s key consumer price gauge rose 5% in March, slightly lower than forecast, official data showed on Monday.

The core inflation rate – which excludes private road transport and accommodation costs – rose 5% year-on-year in March, lower than the 5.5% rise seen in February. A Reuters poll of economists had forecast a 5.1% increase in March.

The rate was driven by lower inflation for services, food, retail and other goods, according to a joint statement by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and the trade ministry.

The MAS left its monetary policy settings unchanged in its review earlier this month, reflecting the concerns about its growth outlook and surprising economists, who had expected another round of tightening on elevated inflation.

It has also said core inflation will remain elevated in the next few months but should progressively ease in the second half of 2023 and end the year significantly lower.

The central bank said core inflation was expected to average 3.5% to 4.5%, and headline inflation was forecast to come in higher at 5.5% to 6.5%.

Source: The Star

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