First-quarter CPI sees highest rise in 2016-2020 hinh anh 1Food and vegetable prices climb up 13.21 percent and 4.14 percent respectively in January and February - the duration of the Lunar New Year (Tet). (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA)
– The consumer price index (CPI) in the first quarter of 2020 rose by 5.56 percent, the highest increase during the 2016-2020 period, Director of the General Statistics Office (GSO) Nguyen Bich Lam said.

The rise was attributed to the increasing demand for food in January and February – the duration of the Lunar New Year (Tet), Lam told a press conference in Hanoi on March 27, adding that food and vegetable prices climbed up 13.21 percent and 4.14 percent respectively.

The COVID-19 outbreak began in late January 2020, so the demand for some medical products, electricity and water also increased, pushing up their respective prices by 1.43 percent, 9.89 percent and 4.75 percent.

Price hikes were also seen in other groups of commodities such as beverage and tobacco 1.8 percent; ready-made garments 1.19 percent; and housing maintenance materials 2.52 percent.

Average oil prices in the first quarter dropped by 5.75 percent compared to the same period of 2019 due to the impact of COVID-19 and the oil pricing war between the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and Russia to gain market shares.

Tourism demand increased during the Tet holiday but declined afterwards in face of the coronavirus outbreak. As a result, full-package tours went down by 1.74 percent in January-March.

Amid the complicated developments of COVID-19, the Government and the Prime Minister as well as ministries and departments directed the implementation of numerous measures to prevent the spread of the pandemic and stablise the market.

According to the GSO, basic inflation (CPI exclusive of foodstuff, fresh food, energy, and healthcare and education services) in the three-month period rose by 3.05 percent./.