Vietnamese inflation turns negative in holiday season as energy, transport costs tumble

Thanh Nien News

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 Photo credit: Thoi Bao Kinh Te Saigon Online

Inflation in Vietnam, an emerging economy with a long tradition of battling runaway consumer prices, turned negative in February, bucking the upward trend usually seen over the last decade. 
The consumer price index fell 0.05 percent from January even though the country’s biggest holiday and shopping season, the Lunar New Year Tet Festival, fell in February.
It was the first time in at least 10 years something like this happened, local media reported. 
The negative growth was mainly because transport costs went down by 4.41 percent as a result of decreases in energy prices, according to the General Statistics Office. 
Fuel prices were reduced by between 10 and 12 percent on January 21.
The costs of other two key items, housing and telecommunications, were also down 0.41 and 0.02 percent respectively.
Food and beverages, playing the biggest part in the consumer basket, saw an increase of 0.53 percent in prices.
The growth was much lower than those recorded in the second months of previous years – 1.15 percent last year and 2.28 percent in 2013.
Other items that were bound to increase due to the holiday faced the same situation, with clothing up only 0.45 percent.
Meanwhile, health care, education and entertainment costs grew by less than 0.05 percent, the office reported.
The Tet holiday was from February 15-23.

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