The consumer price index (CPI) in February rose slightly by 0.55 percent against the previous month despite a surge in demand during the Lunar New Year.

The figure represented a year-on-year increase of 4.65 percent, according to the General Statistics Office (GSO).

A 0.05-1.15 percent increase was seen in 10 out of 11 groups in the goods and services basket.

The food and restaurant services group registered the highest rise, while medicine and healthcare services recorded the lowest.

Meanwhile, the cost of housing and construction materials fell by 0.64 percent.

According to Nguyen Duc Thang, head of the Price Statistics Department at the GSO, thanks to the abundant supply of agricultural products, the prices of food and foodstuff experienced a slight rise.

Another reason behind the minor increase is that consumers are still reluctant to spend as the country struggles with economic difficulties, Thang pointed out.

However, the price of rice rose sharply from 0.65 to 1.41 percent in the month as demand for high quality and sticky rice surged, he noted, adding that demand for travel in the long Tet holiday also pushed transport and restaurant services up, he said.

At the same time, a 1.87 percent increase was reported in the price of gold, while the VND/USD exchange rate was kept stable at about 21,120 VND per USD.

Thang also predicted that March’s CPI will not increase sharply, about 0.55-0.6 percent against this month.-VNA