Bangladesh inflation drops to 9.93 pct, first single-digit rate in 14 months
Dhaka, May 7 (Xinhua-ANI): The overall rate of inflation in Bangladesh during April dropped to single digit for the first time in more than one year, officials said Monday, but expressed fear that the current volatile political situation in the country would likely hinder the trend.
A Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS) official told Xinhua that "the country's overall inflation rate, which slowed to 9.93 percent in April from 10.10 percent in March, returned to the sliding motion in the last month as food items marked sharp fall."
The country's food inflation fell to 8.12 percent in April, compared to 8.28 percent in March, the official said, adding the country's food inflation was recorded at 14.36 percent in April last year.
The official who preferred to be unnamed said, "Inflation in non-food items also eased slightly to clock a 13.77 percent rise in April from 13.96 percent in March."
Bangladesh's non-food inflation reached 3.97 percent in April last year. Last month's non-food inflation, according to the official, was highest in 13 years. Against the backdrop of soaring prices of fuel oils and electricity, he said prices of non-food commodities such as garments, medical services, transport, furniture and those of household and laundry increased, causing the spike in inflation in non-food sector.
Although non-food inflation still remained high, the country's overall rate of inflation came down to single digit as food inflation rate maintained the sliding trend against the backdrop of bumper domestic crop which contributed a lot to cooling down food prices.
Price hike in food items, particularly staple rice, is a key concern for the Bangladeshi government as about 31.5 percent of people live on less than two U.S. dollars a day and spend a large part of their earnings on food.
The average inflation rate in the South Asian nation of over 150 million people during the 12 months of the last 2010-11 fiscal year (July 2010-June 2011) reached 8.80 percent. In the budget for the current fiscal year 2011-12, the Bangladeshi government assumed that the average annual inflation will be 7.5 percent.
The country witnessed single digit in overall inflation last time in February 2011 when it was recorded at 9.79 percent, said the BBS official.
Bangladesh's inflation rate has maintained double digits since March last year, making a tough job for the government and Bangladesh Bank to curb its upward march.
Analysts said the job can be tougher for the Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's government in future if the current volatile political situation persists.
"The food and non-food prices might surge again if the current volatile political situation persists and supply chain is adversely impacted by 'hartal' or general strike," Mustafa K Mujeri, director general of state-owned Bangladesh Institute of Development Studies, was quoted as saying in a report of the leading newspaper The Financial Express recently.
Former Prime Minister Khaleda Zia's Bangladesh Nationalist Party strengthened anti-government movement after a leader of the party had gone missing last month. The opposition party, which slapped an ultimatum for the government to restore a non-party caretaker government system by June this year to hold next national elections slated for early 2014, threatened to launch tougher movement if its demand is not realized. (Xinhua-ANI)
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