March inflation seen hitting 8-year high of 5.3%

inflation-RinggitKUALA LUMPUR : Malaysia’s annual inflation rate is expected to rise to 5.3% in March, the highest in eight years, a Reuters poll showed.

Inflation was likely driven by higher fuel prices year-on-year on the back of a low-base effect, even as oil prices remained largely stagnant in March, according to the economists surveyed.

The March median forecast of 5.3% by 11 economists polled would be quicker than the 4.5% rise in February, the highest since the November 2008 peak of 5.7%.

Bank Negara Malaysia said headline inflation will be “relatively high” in the first half of 2017 on higher fuel prices, but expects it to dip in the second half.

The central bank expects headline inflation to be 3% to 4% in 2017, against 2.1% last year.