Patients wait to receives check-ups (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) – Medicine and healthcare services prices this August post the sharpest monthly hike, 6.18 percent, compared to five other goods and services categories that share the same upward trend, said the General Statistics Office (GSO) on August 24.

The five other categories with rising price are education (up 0.47 percent); garment, hats and footwear (0.14 percent); beverage and cigarette (0.05 percent); household appliances and goods (0.05 percent); and other goods and services (0.11 percent).

Meanwhile, consumers spent lesser money on traffic (down 1.97 percent); food and catering services (0.14 percent); culture, entertainment and tourism (0.12 percent); postal services and communications (0.03 percent); and housing and construction materials (0.02 percent).

As a result, consumer price index (CPI) in August rose by 0.1 percent from July, 2.57 percent from the same period last year and 2.58 percent from last December. The eight-month CPI climbed 1.91 percent year on year.

Do Thi Ngoc, Deputy Director of the GSO’s Price Statistics Department, said costlier healthcare services prices are the biggest contributor, 0.28 percent, to the CPI growth. Their 8.12-percent increase in 16 provinces was scheduled in a joint circular between the health and finance ministries.

Nine provinces and cities also augmented tuition fees as stipulated in a Government decree last year. Higher demand for educational tools like textbooks, notebooks and pens to prepare for the new school year also boosted education prices, she added.

While food supply abundance made food prices fall slightly, lower construction demand and global steel prices dragged prices of construction materials down 0.47 percent from the previous month.

The traffic category experienced the biggest price decrease, 1.97 percent, mostly due to two petrol price cuts which in turn led to cheaper coach and ship tickets. Additionally, August’s coincidence with the seventh lunar month, traditionally called the Ghost Month, resulted in less demand for automobile and motorbike purchases, making vehicle prices drop 0.12 percent.

In August, gold prices rose by 1.72 percent from last month while the VND/USD exchange rate was relatively stable, with one US dollar exchanged for 22,330 VND.

The GSO said the core inflation (the CPI excluding food items; energy products and commodities under the State management including medical and educational services ) this month inched up 0.09 percent from July and 1.83 percent from a year before. The eight-month core inflation climbed 1.81 percent from the same period of 2015.

The almost similar eight-month inflation (1.91 percent) and core inflation (1.81 percent) compared to the same period last year proved that the current monetary policy is effective, helping to stabilise the macro-economy, the office noted.

The GSO forecasts September will register a faster CPI growth rate than that of August because of higher educational services and petrol prices.-VNA