Vietnam ’s consumer price index (CPI) in March saw a month-on-month rise of 2.17 percent, pushing the first quarter’s CPI up by 12.79 percent year on year despite strong measures to curb inflation.

According to the General Statistics Office (GSO), except for 2008, CPI in March and in the first quarter of this year reached a record high compared to the same period over the past 15 years.

The highest growth was seen in transport, up 6.69 percent due to rising petrol prices; followed by housing and construction materials, 3.67 percent; and food and restaurant services, 1.98 percent. The price of post and telecom services also rose slightly by 0.02 percent after many months of continuous falls.

Nguyen Duc Thang, Head of the GSO’s Pricing Department, attributed the CPI rise to strong price hikes in essential commodities and services, including petrol, cement, steel, transportation, medicine and especially foodstuffs.

According to the Ministry of Finance’s Pricing Department, adjustments in prices of petrol and electricity as well as changes in macroeconomic policies are directly responsible for hikes in many commodities and services.

Economic experts said that prices of commodities and services in the next months would show uncertainty due to high loan interest rates and animal epidemic diseases.

This month, the price of gold saw a month-on-month increase of 5 percent, a year-on-year rise of 41.27 percent, pushing the gold prices in the first quarter up by 37.07 year on year, and by 4.58 percent over last December.

The price of USD in March also climbed by 3.06 percent month on month, 12.05 percent year on year./.