RTTNews - Singapore consumer prices fell for the fourth straight month in July on lower housing and transport costs, data from the Department of Statistics showed Monday.

The consumer price index or CPI decreased 0.5% year-on-year in July, marking the same pace of decline as in the preceding month.

The decline in consumer prices was mainly due to lower costs of transport and communication, housing and recreation and others, the statistical office said.

Transportation and communication charges dropped 3% on cheaper petrol, while housing costs fell 1.3% largely due to lower electricity tariffs. Costs in the recreation and others group were down 0.9%.

Meanwhile, food prices increased 1.3% annually in July, while clothing and footwear prices rose 2.7%.

On a monthly basis, consumer prices increased 1.1% in July, after falling 0.5% in June. The increase was mainly due to monthly rise in housing, transport and communication costs.

Month-on-month, food prices edged up 0.1%, while clothing and footwear prices climbed 3.9%. Transport and communication charges were up 1.1%.

On a seasonally adjusted basis, consumer prices increased 0.3% month-on-month in July, after rising 0.2% in June.

The CPI, excluding accommodation costs, decreased 1.3% year-on-year in July, compared to the 1.4% fall in June. On a monthly basis, it was up 0.6% in July, faster than the 0.2% growth in the preceding month.

For the first seven months of the year, consumer prices climbed 0.6% compared to the same period of the previous year. During the period, the CPI, excluding accommodation costs, fell 0.4%.

The city-state's consumer prices declined for the first time in almost four years in April. The Monetary Authority of Singapore director Heng Swee Keat said on July 16 that inflation is expected to come in between minus 0.5% and 0.5% in 2009.

Singapore economy recovered in the second quarter, underpinned by strong performance of the manufacturing sector. The gross domestic product or GDP grew a seasonally adjusted 20.7% sequentially in the second quarter, reversing a 12.2% contraction in the first quarter.

The government expects the economy to shrink between 4% and 6% this year.

The seasonally adjusted jobless rate stood at 3.3% in the second quarter, unchanged from the first quarter.

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