Wednesday, July 6

Controlling inflation not only about rate rises, Taiwan minister says

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TAIPEI — Controlling inflation is not only about interest rate rises and all government departments regularly discuss what other policies to take, Taiwan Economy Minister Wang Mei-hua said on Tuesday, with the pace of price increases at a near 10-year high.

Taiwan’s consumer price index was 3.39% higher in May than a year earlier. That inflation rate was the highest since August 2012 and exceeded the central bank’s 2% target for the 10th consecutive month.

Inflation is still slower than in the United States and Europe, however.

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“It’s not only to be resolved by raising interest rates; we often have discussions across ministries” for other solutions, Wang told local radio.

The government already has put policies in place to help, like cutting some tariffs on imports of raw materials and freezing domestic fuel prices, Wang said.

“Compared to international control of inflation, Asian countries have taken more measures than Europe and the United States,” she said. “The Taiwan government has taken even more.”

Taiwan’s central bank holds its quarterly rate-setting meeting on Thursday.

All 19 economists in a Reuters poll expect the bank to raise the rate, with 10 predicting a rise to 1.5% and the other 9 seeing it going to 1.625%.

It is currently at 1.375%. (Reporting by Jeanny Kao; Writing by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Christopher Cushing)

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