Vietnam’s March consumer price index (CPI) inched up 0.15 percent from a month earlier, pushing first-quarter inflation by 0.74 percent.

Contributing to the rise were food and restaurant services (up 0.36 percent), housing and construction materials (0.16 percent) and culture-entertainment-tourism (0.18 percent), partly due to increases in a broad range of items during the Lunar New Year (Tet) holiday, according to the General Statistics Office (GSO).

Major dips included beverages & cigarettes, garment & headwear, transportation, and telecommunications with respective decrements of 0.11 percent, 0.04 percent, 0.31 percent, and 0.02 percent.

Meanwhile, little change was seen in household appliances and utensils, medicine and medical services, and education.

Comparing quarters, restaurant and dining services registered an annual hike of 1.17 percent, below that recorded in previous years.

Vice Director of the GSO’s Price Statistics Department Do Bich Ngoc said the simultaneous upward adjustment of electricity and fuel costs in mid-March will have implications for the April CPI figure.

GSO Director General Nguyen Bich Lam warned of the risk of fuel hikes, which he said would potentially deter the government’s deflationary efforts.

He urged the government to direct the Ministries of Finance and Industry and Trade to monitor market prices, especially of necessities, while carefully considering the timing for price adjustments.-VNA