The consumer price index (CPI) is expected to surge about 2 percent in February, according to the Pricing Management Department.

The cost of eating out, transportation, beverages, tobacco and entertainment will see the most dramatic rise, according to the department.

The department also predicted that demand for goods and services will rise by up to 20 percent in comparison with the rest of the year.

However, the domestic rice price in the south is expected to decline due to stockpiling by exporters.

Meanwhile, the price of meat and seafood is expected to rise due to increasing demand over the holiday period and the cold spell in the north.

Fertiliser and steel prices are also expected to rise due to increasing domestic and international demand.

However, the department said price fluctuations have been minimised due to stockpiling by businesses.

To help businesses meet increased demand for essential commodities over the holiday period, 35 cities and provinces made interest-free loans available worth 1.497 trillion VND (75 million USD).

In addition, wholesalers, supermarkets and trade centres such as Metro, Big C and Intimex put aside commodities worth 1.2 trillion VND (60 million USD) to meet demand over Tet.

The Government has asked the coal, cement, paper, fertiliser, dairy and electricity sectors to keep prices stable over the holiday period.

It has also asked bus firms, rail companies and airlines not to hike prices over Tet.

According to the General Statistics Office, the CPI rose 1.74 percent this month compared with December last year. /.