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CPI edges up on food price fall

Update: April, 27/2013 - 10:29
Customers go shopping at Co.op mart supermarket in HCM City. The consumer price index inched up just 0.02 per cent in April against the previous month, the lowest monthly rise in the past decade. — VNA/VNS Photo Thanh Vu

HA NOI (VNS)— The consumer price index (CPI) inched up just 0.02 per cent in April against the previous month, the lowest monthly rise in the past decade, according to the General Statistics Office (GSO).

With April's modest change included, CPI in the first four months of the year is 2.41 per cent higher than the figure recorded last December.

The director of the GSO's Consumer Price Index Department, Nguyen Duc Thang, attributed the low CPI rise to a price reduction of food and foodstuff – a group which accounts for about 40 per cent of the CPI figures - by 0.91 per cent.

Thang forecast that price of food would continue to decline next month due to an abundant supply following a bumper winter-spring crop in southern provinces and a rice export price decline of US$10-15 per tonne.

He added that low consumption demand in the domestic market due to the continued economic hardships was another cause of the CPI figures.

During the month, the price of health-care services made the highest jump, rising 4.51 per cent following the Government's decision to change the pricing system for health-care services in Hai Phong city and the provinces of Nam Dinh, Binh Dinh and Tay Ninh.

Despite the petrol price declining twice this month, the cost of transport still surged 1.2 per cent as the fall fell below the rise of VND1,430 per litre made by petrol retailers in late March.

Otherwise, prices remained fairly stable. Despite the CPI slowdown being good news for some, economists were concerned about the trend as it is a result of the gloomy economic outlook.

Economist Ngo Tri Long said that while the slowdown reflected a price reduction of commodities and was a positive sign to consumers, it also showed that local producers were facing high stockpiles and people were low on disposable income and confidence.

The CPI fall was due to an imbalance of supply and demand, Long added, warning that the economy could become stagnant if no effective policies were taken. — VNS


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