With price increases in ten out of the eleven groups of items, the nation’s consumer price index (CPI) this January is up 1.25% against the preceding month.
The group of medicine and healthcare services records the sharpest price hike of 7.4%, according to data revealed by the General Statistics Office on Thursday.
The food and catering service group also sees significant growth of 1.34% over last month, with food rising 0.15%, foodstuff 1.96% and eatery service 0.6%.
These two groups are mainly attributed to the nation’s CPI growth of 1.25%.
Other groups like household appliances, garment-footwear and beverage-tobacco witness price increases of 0.54%, 1.3% and 0.42% respectively. This indicates the demand for Tet goods has not grown considerably.
At this time last year, the index surged 7.07%.
The General Statistic Office remarks prices rise more sharply in rural areas than in urban areas, with a respective level of 1.36% and 1.17%.
Thua Thien-Hue has the highest CPI growth of 4.67%, followed by Danang with 3.58%. Meanwhile, Vinh Long sees a decline of 0.69% in prices, and Gia Lai and HCMC record slight increases of 0.39% and 0.44% respectively.
Economist Ngo Tri Long found the CPI rise of 1.25% alarming, posing a potential risk of high inflation returning.
There are many factors pushing up CPI in January, including higher demand for Tet goods and unfavorable weather that has affected produce output, Long told the Daily.
Meanwhile, a subjective reason is macro-economic policy enforcement, proven by the fact that many provinces and cities have raised hospital fees and drug prices although the Ministry of Finance in September last year asked them to stop doing so in order to curb inflation.
“This requires relevant authorities to adopt measures to control inflation right in the year’s beginning,” said the economist.
Minister of Finance Vuong Dinh Hue on Thursday sent a dispatch to relevant agencies asking them to tighten control on prices in the run up to the Lunar New Year holiday. In particular, he requested local finance departments to suggest ways to extend the time for adjustment of prices of certain goods and services such as healthcare, education, water, and bus transport.
Moreover, local finance departments are told to supervise compliance to the regulations on prices, taxes and fees and strictly handle violators.
The Saigon Times Daily