Vietnam cuts diesel, kerosene prices amid surging inflation

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Vietnam cut diesel and kerosene prices by as much as 1.9 percent as it strives to tame Asia's fastest inflation.

Diesel prices were reduced to VND20,400 (98 cents) from 20,800 dong per liter, and kerosene prices were cut to 20,200 dong from 20,500 per liter, the Ministry of Finance said in a statement on its website. The reductions took effect at 11 a.m. local time Monday, according to the statement.

"The cuts will help ease inflationary pressure, as it will reduce transportation and production costs that contribute to easing food and goods prices," said Ho Chi Minh City-based Nguyen Duy Phong, an analyst at ACB Securities Inc. Diesel is commonly used by transportation companies, while kerosense is mainly used in factories and households, Phong said.

Vietnam's government has struggled to restore confidence hurt by inflation that has exceeded 20 percent this year. The central bank said last week it would increase its refinancing rate to 15 percent from 14 percent, effective Monday. The World Bank in June described price gains in Vietnam as "intolerable" and called on policy makers to maintain tight monetary conditions until inflation is below 10 percent.

Prices of 92-RON gasoline, the most commonly used fuel grade in Vietnam, remained unchanged at 20,800 dong a liter, the ministry said in the statement. Its move follows China, which yesterday cut fuel prices for the first time this year. Vietnam in August cut prices of fuel products by as much as 2.3 percent.

Consumer prices increased 22 percent in September from a year earlier. Vietnam's inflation rate remained the fastest in a basket of 17 Asian Pacific economies tracked by Bloomberg.

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