Illustrative image (Source: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) – There will be no big changes in market prices in the remaining months of this year, price management officials said at a conference on market price developments in the first half and forecasts for the whole year in Hanoi on July 3.

The Department of Price Management under the Finance Ministry said that ministries, sectors and localities are actively taking measures to stabilise the market, especially during festivals or when there are abnormal developments in the market.

According to the department, all factors behind price increases in recent months originated from the market and none came from the Government’s pricing policy.

Statistics of the General Statistics Office show that the consumer price index (CPI) in the first half of this year posted an average monthly growth of 0.37 percent. Year-on-year inflation rate in the period rose to 4.67 percent, compared to 2.65 percent recorded at the beginning of the year.

Nguyen Duc Do, deputy head of the Institute of Economics-Finance, said that the increase was foreseen in late 2017. He explained that pork price saw a dramatic fall in the first six months of 2017, but rose towards the year’s end into 2018. In addition, increases in petrol prices and adjustment of health service prices in the first quarter of 2018 also contributed to pushing the CPI up.

Regarding whether inflation will continue to rise and the goal of curbing inflation below 4 percent this year can be met or not, Do said that inflation is likely to peak in July and then decrease gradually to below 4 percent, even to under 3 percent, in the last months of 2018.

He explained that the Government has already adjusted prices of health services in late 2017, so if health service prices are kept unchanged in the second half of this year, the inflation rate will not rise much.

Not as optimistic as Do, economist Ngo Tri Long said that high inflation in the first half of 2018 and the price adjustment of various commodities managed by the State will put pressure on efforts to keep average CPI below 4 percent this year.

The pressure will even increase in the second half of this year as the prices of crude oil and goods on the world market and the foreign exchange rate are on a rising trend, Long added.

Nguyen Loc An, deputy head of the Domestic Market Department under the Ministry of Industry and Trade, stressed the need to keep a close watch on market developments of necessities and quickly respond to any abnormal changes in the market.

It is essential to boost consumption of garment and textile products and home appliances through more promotional programmes, An stated.

Meanwhile, Long emphasised the importance to balance supply and demand of major products such as petrol, food, and pork, and use the price stabilisation fund in an appropriate manner for such commodities.-VNA