ASEAN KEY DESTINATIONS
February's CPI increase a 10-year low
The country's consumer price index (CPI) in February inched up 0.55 per cent against the previous month due to low demand, marking the lowest price hike in the past decade.
The General Statistics Office (GSO) reported that the month-on-month CPI hike in February for the past few years was often higher than 1 per cent. The CPI rose 2.2 per cent month-on-month in February 2007; 3.56 per cent in Feb 2008; 1.17 per cent in Feb 2009; 1.96 per cent in Feb 2010; 2.09 per cent in Feb 2011; 1.37 per cent in Feb 2012 and 1.32 per cent in Feb 2013, it said.
Director of the GSO's CPI department Nguyen Duc Thang said that February, which includes the country's largest holiday of Tet (Lunar New Year), often saw the CPI rise to the highest level of the year as domestic demand is very high at the time.
However, Thang noted, February 2014 didn't follow this pattern, as local consumers had tightened their belts, choosing to buy mainly essential items, while supply sources were abundant.
This month's low CPI growth does not surprise observers as some experts had previously predicted that this month's CPI would only rise from 0.5-0.7 per cent due to low demand.
The forecast was based on releases of the February CPI in the country's two largest cities of HCM City and Ha Noi. The indexes in Ha Noi and HCM City rose 0.49 and 0.24 per cent.
As many as 9 out of the 11 baskets of goods that contributed to the calculation of the CPI data saw their prices increase this month.
Of these, the prices of food posted the highest increase, rising 1.15 per cent. Traffic and culture-entertainment-tourism came second, with 0.66 and 0.61 per cent respectively.
The prices of household appliances, garments-footwear-hats, medicine-health care and education rose between 0.01 per cent and 0.22 per cent.
On the down side, the prices of housing and construction materials slid by 0.64 per cent this month, and the prices of postal services and telecommunications eased by 0.02 per cent, the data showed.
Gold was not included in the CPI components, with prices in February rebounding to rise by 1.87 per cent month on month but still losing 22.77 per cent year on year.
The US dollar prices this month edged down by 0.03 per cent month on month but were still up 1.05 per cent year on year.
In the urban area, this month's CPI increased by 0.54 per cent month on month. The rise in the rural area was 0.56 per cent month on month.
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