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CPI: cost of living falls slightly

CPI: cost of living falls slightly

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A woman buys vegetables at Kandal market in downtown Phnom Penh last week. Photograph: Will Baxter/Phnom Penh Post

The Kingdom’s consumer price index declined by 0.1 per cent in October for the first time in 2012 due to a decline in food and gasoline prices and a stable US dollar exchange rate, according to official data released by the National Institute of Statistics (NIS).

Officials said the rate reflects the decline in the region and the stabilisation of local currency against the greenback. “We noticed that our inflationary rate has been pretty good in the last few months,” said Khin Song, deputy director general of the NIS.

“We’ve had a decline in meat and vegetable prices, pushing food prices to a stable level.

Additionally, our exchange rate is also very stable and that cannot cause our CPI to increase. This proves we’ve got a very sound and good macro-economy,” he added.

Khin Song added that the lack of flooding this year was another contributing factor. “This year, we did not get

affected by the flood, that is also the main contribution to the decline in price.”

The NIS’s data from September to October showed stability in food prices – meat prices decreased by 0.6 per cent, there was a 1.8 per cent fall in pork prices, vegetable prices declined by 1.3 per cent and the price of gasoline also went down by 1.8 per cent.

According to the same data, there has generally been an increase in the price of goods such as food and non-alcoholic beverages, clothing and footwear, housing, water, electricity, gas and other fuels over the last 12 months, causing a 1.2 per cent increase in Cambodia’s inflationary rate.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) projected Cambodia’s inflation to be between 2 to 4 per cent in 2012, saying that despite the rise in food prices in the global market, Cambodia will maintain a low rate of inflation.

The NIS projected that Cambodia will have an average inflation rate of between 2 to 3 per cent by the end of the year.

According to the IMF’s deputy managing direct, Naoyuki Shinohara, Cambodia’s inflation rate has moderated and the food prices stabilised because of improvements made in rice production.

“If you look at the inflation rate, it has moderated,” he said. “And, Cambodia did not suffer from food price increases because of improvements in rice production. The impact of rising food prices is also very limited and this year crops seem to be very good. So, there is not much to worry about.”

The IMF also projected Cambodia’s economic growth to be 6.5 per cent, similar to the government’s projection.

“Cambodia’s economic performance is pretty good despite the global slowdown and crises in certain markets,” said Shinohara.

“The growth in Cambodia has been relatively steady and high. We are expecting comfortable growth for Cambodia mainly off the back of exports, tourism and construction,” he added.

To contact the reporter on this story: May Kunmakara at [email protected]

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