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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs        3  May 2011

Thai inflation spikes in April

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Thailand’s Consumer Price Index in April rose to a 15-month high, up by 4.04 percent year-on year, with volatile weather pushing up food and vegetable prices. The index stood at 112.01 points in April, a rise of 3.27 percent for the first four months year-on-year, said Yanyong Phuangrach, the permanent secretary for commerce. The April index rose by 1.38 percent from March.

The ministry reported fast-changing and hot weather as well as flooding caused prices of fresh vegetables to increase by 14.4 percent, meat 7.2 percent and ready-to-eat foods 5.6 percent.

April's core inflation, which excludes volatile food and fuel prices, stood at 105.29 points, or 2.07 percent higher than a year earlier due to rising rents and construction materials. It increased by 0.73 percent from March this year, while the four-month core inflation was 1.62 percent.

However, the ministry still maintains a full-year inflation target of 3.2-3.7 percent by focusing on a price supervision policy for products using domestic raw materials, as well as pork, eggs, chicken, rice and sugar, said Mr Yanyong.

He acknowledged the prices of products with a high percentage of imported raw materials may increase in line with import prices.

The ministry hopes to increase income through supporting exports, which may grow 20 percent this year, he added.

"Average inflation for the second quarter should rise to 3.45 percent due to spending prior to the new school term, while farmers must buy materials for the coming cultivation season," said Mr Yanyong.

The ministry said the producer price index in April was 139.3 points, up 6.6 pwercent from last year but only 1.4 percent from March. The four-month PPI increased by 6.4% year-on-year. This was attributed to rising prices of rubber, vegetables, livestock products, sugarcane, minerals and fuel.

Sompop Manarungsan, president of the Panyapiwat Institute of Technology, was not surprised at how quickly prices were increasing, as the government implemented measures to manage cost-push inflation. He said without the measures, last month's inflation might have been 5 percent or more.

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This year in Thailand-what next?

AseanAffairs   04 January 2011
By David Swartzentruber      

It is commonplace in journalism to write two types of articles at the transition point between the year that has passed and the New Year. As this writer qualifies as an “old hand” in observing Thailand with a track record dating back 14 years, it is time take a shot at what may unfold in Thailand in 2011.

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