Vietnam posted a 0.55 percent increase in the consumer price index (CPI), an indicator of inflation growth, in the first six months of 2015 compared to late 2014, making this year’s CPI increase target between 5-7 percent set by the National Assembly achievable, General Statistics Office (GSO) General Director Nguyen Bich Lam said on June 24.

The June CPI grew by 0.35 percent from May, 1 percent from the same period last year, and 0.55 percent against last December.

Monthly price increases were seen in eight out of the 11 main goods and services categories, including transport (up 3.54 percent); pharmaceutical and medical services (0.38 percent); and culture, entertainment and tourism (0.26 percent).

Costs in education remained unchanged while those in the two categories of food and hospitality services, and postal and telecommunications declined by 0.03 percent each.

Deputy Director of the GSO’s Price Statistics Department Do Thi Ngoc said June inflation was fuelled mainly by rises in petrol prices and Ho Chi Minh City’s medical services. While strong heat waves fanned daily electricity expenses, tourism demand also began to rise due to student summer holidays.

During the first half of 2015, the average CPI hiked 0.86 percent from a year earlier, relatively low compared to the same period in the previous years, the GSO said.

The office attributed the slowe pace to abundant food supplies thanks to bumper winter-spring and summer-autumn crops and a five percent reduction in petrol prices in six months. Meanwhile, domestic gas prices fell by 12 percent following global price drops, and prices of staple commodities in the world were kept static, further slowing inflation.

Lam said this year’s CPI goal is feasible if there are no sudden changes during the second half of 2015, noting that Vietnam has recorded a relatively slow CPI pace since 2001; 0.1 percent each month on average.

He stressed that when the CPI is kept stable, the central bank will continue easing monetary policies, making loans more accessible to businesses and helping them expand operations, reduce expenses, and stimulate consumption.

Recent CPI increases were in line with inflation control and macro-economy stabilisation targets and did not affect other indexes, Lam said, adding that inflation slowdown will not impact overall GDP growth.

However, risks of petrol price rebounds put pressure on efforts to control inflation, he noted.-VNA