Prices down in 2 biggest cities despite Tet demand

The inflation rate edged down in Vietnam’s two biggest cities, Hanoi and HCMC, for the third straight month in January despite the approaching Lunar New Year holidays.

In Hanoi, the consumer price index went up by 1.68 percent compared to 1.83 percent in December and 1.93 percent and November. In HCMC, it rose 1.01 percent against 1.61 percent and 1.73 percent.

In the capital the year-on-year rise was 12.36 percent, according to the Hanoi Statistics Department.

Food led the rise, with prices going up 3.56 percent, followed by restaurant and food services, which were up 2.8 percent. Beverages and tobacco prices rose 2.5 percent.

The Department blamed the rise on a short supply of fresh food, especially fish and vegetables, due to the unusually cold weather.

Apparel, rent, water, and electricity saw increases of 0.03 percent to 1.1 percent. Other goods and services, such as gas, construction materials, home appliances, medical services, and transportation also went up.

Post and telecom prices remained unchanged.

In HCMC, the highest increase of 2.21 percent was recorded by the group of housing, electricity, water, fuel, and building materials. The city Statistics Department blamed this on rising world prices, devaluation of the dong, and greater demand.

The prices of food and catering services, which account for around 40 percent of the basket of goods and services that make up the CPI, rose by 1.35 percent this month.

Strong consumption ahead of the Lunar New Year sent the prices of beverages and tobacco up by 1.06 percent, of apparel, headwear, footwear by 0.93 percent, of transportation by 0.82  percent, and of equipment and household appliances by 0.31 percent.

Every year prices run up sharply before the Lunar New Year, the country’s biggest festival.

National inflation figures will be announced early next week.

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