Household income rising faster than inflation, statistics show

A family push a cart to their car after buying groceries at a hypermarket in a shopping mall in Kuala Lumpur. In a statement yesterday, the DoS highlighted that inflation for food items was at 2.7 per cent in the same year. — Picture by Saw Siow Feng
A family push a cart to their car after buying groceries at a hypermarket in a shopping mall in Kuala Lumpur. In a statement yesterday, the DoS highlighted that inflation for food items was at 2.7 per cent in the same year. — Picture by Saw Siow Feng

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 19 — Malaysian households’ income increased by 7.2 per cent in 2012 compared to the inflation rate which was 1.6 per cent, the Department of Statistics (DoS) disclosed.

In a statement yesterday, the DoS also highlighted that inflation for food items was at 2.7 per cent in the same year.

The surprising data follows in the wake of nationwide furore over rising living costs triggered by the government's decision to roll back subsidies on fuel, electricity, sugar and a list of other items.

The survey of household income is done twice every five years, while the survey of household spending is done once every five years, said DoS.

The Consumer Price Index (CPI), which measures inflation, is released monthly.

In comparison, household income increased 4.4 per cent, inflation rose 0.6 per cent, while inflation for food items went up by 4.1 per cent in 2009, when the same comparison was last done.

Malaysia’s inflation rate increased by 2.1 per cent in last year compared to 2012, while the price of food items increased by 4.5 per cent in the same period.

After the series of price hike announcements, consumer confidence plunged to its lowest point since the 2008 financial crisis, according to survey by the Malaysian Institute of Economic Research (MIER) in January.

MIER also predicted that Malaysia’s inflation rate will steadily increase to 2.5 per cent in 2014, and to 3.5 per cent in 2015.

Postponed prior to Election 2013, the so-called subsidy rationalisation programmed was resumed after ratings firm Fitch slashed Malaysia’s sovereign debt outlook from “Stable” to “Negative” in July.

Putrajaya has since decided to increase fuel pump prices for RON95 petrol and diesel; revised the electricity tariff; and announced the Goods and Services Tax which will come into effect in April 2015.

The series of painful measures to trim Malaysia’s chronic budget deficit has hit Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s popularity hard, with the Merdeka Centre survey showing his approval sliding to a new low of 52 per cent in December.

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