Illustrative image (Source: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA)
– Consumer price index (CPI) in the first quarter of 2017 increased by 4.96 percent year on year, according to the General Statistics Office (GSO).

Director of the GSO’s Price Statistics Department Vu Thi Thu Thuy said on March 29 that CPI in March alone rose 0.21 percent from the previous month, 0.9 percent from last December, and 4.65 percent from the same period last year.

Eight of the 11 groups of goods and services in the price basket saw their prices increase. The biggest monthly price hike, 7.51 percent, was recorded in medicine and healthcare services. 

They were followed by education (up 0.75 percent), housing and construction materials (0.5 percent), and traffic (0.39 percent). The four other groups posted price expansion of between 0.03 – 0.06 percent.

Meanwhile, prices dropped 0.87 percent in the food and food services, 0.12 percent in the group of garment, footwear and hat, and 0.02 percent in beverage and cigarette.

Thuy said CPI usually declines in March due to lower consumption demand after the Lunar New Year holiday. She attributed this year’s CPI rise in the month to the Government’s scheduled augmentation of medical and educational services’ fees.

Domestic gold prices fluctuated in line with the global market in March. After the US Federal Reserve raised its benchmark interest rate, the world’s average gold price in March to March 24 went down 12.7 USD from the February average to 1,224.13 USD per ounce.

Gold price in March fell by 0.28 percent month on month to 36 million VND (1,584 USD) per tael.

USD price also rose from February to 22,700 – 22,800 VND per USD in the unofficial market due to stronger demand for the foreign currency to serve import activities.

The GSO said March’s core inflation, which is the CPI excluding food items, energy products and the State-managed commodities of medical and educational services, remained unchanged from the previous month and went up 1.6 percent from a year earlier.

The core inflation in Q1 rose 1.66 percent from the same period of 2016.

The GSO predicted a higher increase in CPI in April compared to the March growth rate, fuelled by slight rises in food, beverage and garment prices. Some provinces may also raise school fees in line with the Government’s roadmap.-VNA