|A customer buys poultry at a market in the southern province of Can Tho. Keeping CPI at 6.5 per cent might not be an easy task this year due to this week's petrol price hike and the scheduled price increases of medical services and electricity. — VNS Photo Doan Tung
HA NOI (VNS)— The Government should pay attention to controlling CPI to achieve a 6.5 per cent growth rate this year, despite this month's downward trend.
The advice was offered by deputy director of the Ministry of Industry and Trade's Industry and Trade Centre Le Quoc Phuong.
After increasing for seven consecutive months, CPI decreased by 0.19 per cent in March.
And the figure rose by only 2.39 per cent in the first quarter of this year, much lower than the average rate of 4.2 per cent during the previous nine years.
The index reflected the aggregate demand of the economy and the fact that purchasing power remained low, Phuong said.
The director added that keeping CPI at 6.5 per cent might not be an easy task this year due to the scheduled price increases of medical services and electricity in addition to a possible petrol price increase and urged drastic measures.
According to Vu Manh Ha, an economist from the General Statistics Office (GSO), purchasing power fell in the first quarter. The country's total retail sales in March were VND211.3 trillion (US$10.1 billion), down 0.6 per cent from the previous month.
And the total retail sales in the first quarter rose only 11.7 per cent from last year, much lower than in previous years. The first quarter of 2010 saw a surge of 24.1 per cent, while 2012's Q1 saw a 21.8 per cent increase.
Ha attributed the decline to global economic turmoil, which affected both domestic production and consumption, resulting in the CPI decrease in March.
Meanwhile, economist Vu Dinh Anh said the CPI decrease and low growth rate were not worrisome because the first quarter's CPI rarely measured up to that of the full year. — VNS