|Customers in Ha Noi are enjoying lower petrol prices following the drop in global oil prices.— VNA/VNS Photo Tran Quyet
HA NOI (VNS) — Viet Nam's Consumer Price Index (CPI) fell by 0.2 percent in January, compared to last month.
This drop was attributed to the sharp decline in the worldwide price of petroleum in recent months, the General Statistics Office (GSO) announced.
This is the third consecutive month that the CPI recorded a drop, with a 0.27 percent fall recorded in November last year, and 0.24 percent in December.
The CPI this month broke the trend seen in previous years when prices in local markets in January, which is the month before the Tet (Lunar New Year) holiday, are affected by numerous factors. These include production demands, especially in processing and consumption of goods for the Tet festival.
In addition, this is the first January since 1996 to record a low CPI. In previous years, a growth of between 1 and 1.74 percent was recorded every January, with the highest value of 2.38 percent in January 2008.
Deputy Director of the CPI Department of GSO, Do Thi Ngoc, told Viet Nam News that the primary reason behind the drop in the CPI growth rate in January this year was the downward trend seen in the world prices of petrol and gas since last July.
Ngoc added that three groups of goods and services taken into account to calculate the CPI in January saw a considerable fall—transportation services, supply of housing and construction materials, and telecom services declined by 3.96 percent, 1.09 percent, and 0.07 percent, respectively.
Other services, such as garments, shoes, food and beverages, household utensils, medicine and healthcare services, education, culture and tourism, all increased, but only by 0.08 to 0.55 percent.
According to an analysis by GSO experts, it will be difficult to raise the CPI in the coming months, even in the month of Tet, because the world's fuel price has shown no sign of recovery, and also because society's demand is still low, as compared to supply.
The experts also predicted that the price of gold in Viet Nam will witness an upward trend in the next few months due to the fluctuating economic situation in Europe and the European Union, where investors focus on the gold market.
Import value up
The GSO also announced that Viet Nam earned an import turnover of some US$500 million in January this year—a figure that marked the end of the long run of months in 2014 when the country's export value exceeded its import value.
According to Director of the Trade Department of GSO Le Thi Minh Thuy, the higher import value recorded in January this year may continue in the next few months because several construction projects lined up for 2015 will require the importing of machines, facilities and spare parts.
"Moreover, businesses will have many opportunities to integrate into the world market this year and expand their export and import bases," said Thuy.
However, she also expressed her concerns over Viet Nam's dependence on import's from foreign countries. In January, the country's imports from China were $2.8 billion higher than its exports, which was 6 times, or $500 million, higher than the trade plus turnover of the entire country. Nearly all goods imported from China were for production in domestic businesses.
Furthermore, the import value of domestic businesses and foreign direct investment (FDI) was $5.6 billion and US$7.8 billion in January, an increase of 28 percent and 41 percent, respectively, as compared to the same period last year.
With regard to export value, domestic businesses earned $4.4 billion, while the FDI reached US$8.5 billion in January, up by 12.1 percent and 8.2 percent, respectively, month-on-month.
The country's export products continue to be in high demand in foreign markets. These include shoes, telephones and parts, computers and components, rubber and cashew, with export values of more than $1 billion, $2.2 billion, $1.2 billion, $157 million, and $140 million, respectively. — VNS