The national Consumer Price Index (CPI) in February rose by 1.37 percent against previous month, a 16.44 percent increase over the same period last year, the General Statistics Office (GSO) has announced.

The GSO said the CPI rise in February 2012 was the lowest over the same period during the past ten years, except for February 2009 with 1.17 percent.

Of the 11 consumption categories, only post and telecommunications services continued to fall, by 0.16 percent, while other categories increased by between 0.07-2.47 percent.

The highest growth during the month was seen in the groups of housing and construction materials and the lowest increase was in educational services.

Food prices this month dropped by 0.41 percent over previous month, mainly because of a 2.1 percent fall in the price of rice in the Mekong Delta as Vietnam ’s export rice competes with lower-quality rice from India , Myanmar and Pakistan .

According to Nguyen Duc Thang, Director of Price Department under GSO, as Tet festival fell on late last month, it drove up prices of most essential commodities and services in early this month and resulted in the increase of February’s CPI.

The CPI market basket in Vietnam currently contains 11 items: foods, restaurant services, beverages, textiles, medical services, transportation, post and communications, educational services, electricity and construction materials.-VNA