Increases in the consumer price index cooled in January in two of Vietnam ’s biggest cities.

Month-on-month, CPI rose by 1.68 percent in Hanoi and 1.01 percent in HCM City , reported the cities' statistics offices.

The Statistics Office of HCM City on Jan.20 reported that this had been the second successive month that the city's CPI decreased.

In December last year, the figure was 1.61 percent. Meanwhile, it stood at 1.73 percent in November.

Hanoi also recorded a second month where growth in CPI decreased. According to the city's statistics office, CPI increased by 12.36 over the same month last year. However, the rate decreased when compared with the two previous months.

The figure was 1.93 percent in November and 1.83 percent in December.

During this month, the two cities witnessed an increase in food prices, food stuffs and restaurant services as Tet (Lunar New Year) is approaching.

In HCM City , the prices of these commodities rose by 1.35 percent.

Food prices increased by 1.11 percent due to higher export rice prices. Foodstuffs increased by 1.12 percent and restaurant services were up by 1.85 percent.

In Hanoi , due to abnormally cold weather, along with high demand caused by Tet, food and foodstuffs prices increased by 3.56 percent, reported the statistics office.

Cold weather in the north has killed many cattle and affected vegetable crops.

Products that are popular during the Tet holiday, such as jam which increased to 30 percent over the same period last year, continue to soar. This price hike is driven by the increasing prices of raw materials, manpower and higher transport costs.

The price of restaurant services and beverage-cigarettes increased by 2.8 percent and 2.5 percent, respectively.

Cold weather in Hanoi has led to inflation in clothing, footwear and hat prices by 7.28 percent.

Meanwhile, in HCM City , the prices of housing and construction materials rose by 2.21 percent due to higher world prices and the devaluation of the Vietnamese dong.

The cities's statistic offices said it would be hard to control prices with Tet approaching./.