HA NOI — Members of the Viet Nam Gas Association have agreed to lower the retail price of gas by up to VND46,000 (over US$2) for a 12kg cylinder for April.
Customers will be able to purchase 12kg gas cylinders for between VND405,000 to VND410,000 (about $20), depending on the brand.
Nguyen Sy Thang, the association's president, said gas companies were told to announce the revised price from the beginning of this month.
Association members have been ordered to ensure the price reduction is passed onto consumers.
The association said global gas prices had dropped by about $160 per tonne compared to early March because of falling demand after the colder than normal winter.
In January, prices rose by VND126,000 ($6) per 12 kg following global price rises.
Meanwhile, the average cost of food has decreased 1.25 per cent against last month due to abundant supply, the General Statistics Office said.
The price of pork dropped 2.79 per cent in March against February, beef fell by 0.65 per cent and chicken by 1.82 per cent.
Economists at the Ministry of Industry and Trade's domestic market management board said keeping inflation in a single digit this year would be a challenge despite modest rises in the consumer price index this year.
Last month's CPI edged up just 0.16 per cent against February – the smallest increase for the last 20 months – mainly due to the fall in the price of food, which accounts for 40 per cent of the cost of household goods and services.
Domestic petrol prices, which rose 10 per cent early last month, pushed the CPI up by just 0.08 per cent. The rise in the fuel price is expected to push up the CPI in April.
Economists anticipate that a rally in the US and German economies and positive developments in the eurozone, would help the global cost of materials recover, which in turn would push up the price of essential goods such as petrol, rice, fertilisers and paper.
Some supermarkets have already warned that prices could rise in April.
Major supermarkets have said the cost of beer, soft drinks and cosmetics would soon increase by 10 to 15 per cent due to rising costs.
The cost of power is also likely to rise in the near future.
Despite imminent price rises, Vo Tri Thanh, the deputy director of the Central Institute for Economic Management, reportedly said the Government's goal of keeping inflation under 10 per cent this year was not overly optimistic.
Deputy Minister of Finance Vu Thi Mai said the ministry would organise numerous inspections of retail outlets to ensure the price of essential goods were reasonable.
She said functional agencies were making every effort to keep the CPI within acceptable limits during the remainder of the year to stabilise the economy and boost the country's economic growth. — VNS