Singapore expects food price inflation to quicken this year amid high demand from China and supply disruptions caused by severe weather, the top finance official said Monday.
The government is studying ways to help low-income and elderly Singaporeans cope with rising prices for food staples such as wheat, rice and sugar, Finance Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam said in parliament.
Consumer food prices rose 1.8 percent in November from a year earlier, Tharman said.
"We think it's going to go up further and we're concerned about this," he said.
Higher prices would put pressure on the central bank to tighten monetary policy by allowing the Singapore dollar to strengthen. The bank's next scheduled policy statement is scheduled for April.
Singapore's economy grew 14.7 percent last year as a recovery in global demand fueled a strong rebound in exports and tourism. Singapore Senior Minister Of State for Trade and Industry S. Iswaran reiterated the government's economic growth forecast for this year of between 4 percent and 6 percent, but warned growing domestic consumer demand threatens to stoke inflationary pressure.
"We need to be watchful of overheating risks as the labor market tightens and capacity constraints become more binding," Iswaran told parliament.
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