By Yantoultra Ngui
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia--Inflation in Malaysia rose as expected at 1.4% in October from a year earlier, according to official data released Friday.
The increase was driven by higher prices for food, non-alcoholic beverages, water and electricity, but offset by lower transportation, communication, clothing and footwear costs, according to a statement by the Department of Statistics.
Inflation in September rose 1.5% from the same time a year earlier.
On a monthly basis, the consumer price index increased 0.3%, data from the statistics agency show.
Nine economists polled by The Wall Street Journal expected consumer prices to rise a median 1.4% from a year earlier.
Markets in Malaysia, Southeast Asia's third-largest economy, have been among the worst-hit in the aftermath of Donald Trump's U.S. election victory. The ringgit has weakened more than 5% against the U.S. dollar since the election, while the local benchmark stock index has shed more than 2%.
The slump came even though the country posted slightly better than expected economic growth of 4.3% in the third quarter, which ended September, compared with a year ago.
Malaysia's central bank left interest rates unchanged Wednesday. A slide in the ringgit following a Trump-driven surge in the dollar has crimped its ability to cut rates.
"The degree of monetary accommodativeness is consistent with the policy stance to ensure that the domestic economy continues on a steady growth path," Bank Negara Malaysia said in a press statement Wednesday.
The bank expects 2016 inflation to be at the lower end of the projected 2.0%-2.5% range, and to remain relatively stable in 2017, given low global energy and commodity prices and generally subdued global inflation.
Write to Yantoultra Ngui at firstname.lastname@example.org
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
November 24, 2016 23:14 ET (04:14 GMT)
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