KUALA LUMPUR, April 24 (Reuters) - Malaysia's consumer price index rose 0.2 percent from a year earlier in March, rebounding after two months in deflationary territory, government data showed on Wednesday.
The rise in the index, however, was just below the 0.3 percent annual growth forecast in a Reuters poll.
Inflation in March was driven mostly by higher prices for housing and utilities, restaurants and hotels, education and food, data from the Statistics Department showed.
Price pressures have been mild since the government scrapped an unpopular consumption tax in June 2018, while transport costs have fallen amid lower global oil prices.
The index turned negative in January for the first time since November 2009, declining 0.7 percent year-on-year, as transport costs fell. In February, it dropped 0.4 percent.
In the first quarter, Malaysia's CPI fell 3 percent from the same period a year ago, with the transport sector index declining 5.9 percent, the department said.
The central bank has said, however, that Malaysia did not face serious deflationary pressures. Headline inflation, which came in at 1 percent in 2018, was likely to average higher this year, Bank Negara Malaysia said.
(Reporting by Rozanna Latiff; editing by Gopakumar Warrier)