Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Inflation stagnant, but fuel costs raise pressure

Inflation stagnant, but fuel costs raise pressure

Inflation stagnant, but fuel costs raise pressure

CPI inflation stable on December but up 6.9pc on January 2009

PRICES for consumer goods remained stagnant last month compared to December, but climbed 6.9 percent on January 2009 as a result of rising fuel prices.

Figures from the National Institute of Statistics (NIS) showed that food prices continued to slide month on month – by 0.2 percent in January.

Meanwhile, petrol has risen 1.25 percent so far this year to an average 4,000 riels (US$0.96) per litre, and diesel has climbed 1.45 percent to 3,500 riels, Trade Promotion Department figures showed Friday.

“From December to January, there were many items that decreased in price,” said an NIS official who declined to be named. “That’s why overall items did not go up” in price.

Prices for fish and seafood were down 0.7 percent last month compared to December, and fruit and vegetable prices dropped 2.5 percent over the same period, the biggest falls according to the consumer price index (CPI) data.

Still, year-on-year prices are accelerating – CPI inflation went from up an annualised 5.3 percent in December to 6.9 percent last month.

“I think this has definitely come from external factors,” Chan Sophal, president of the Cambodian Economic Association, said Friday. “We see that the price of petroleum on global markets has surged, so it affects us.”

Most of the price rises seen this year compared to last were due to the climbing oil price, he added, which has risen from record recent lows at the beginning of 2009, affecting the cost of goods transported across the Kingdom as the economy continues to rely on imported energy.

Oil for March delivery hit a five-week high in New York Friday to $79.81 a barrel as US Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke increased the emergency bank lending rate, a sign that the economy – and therefore demand for fuel – was picking up, analysts said.

NIS figures showed that fuel prices overall in Cambodia were up 8.2 percent since January 2009, while natural gas alone was up a huge 35.4 percent.

Overall, fuel directly contributed to a 1.5-percentage point rise in price year on year, but it also had a major indirect influence – the cost of transportation rose 14.1 percent in the past year, contributing a further 1.4-percentage-point rise.

“If we look at that time [last year, during the worst of the economic crisis], demand was down, so prices were also down,” said the NIS official.

Minister of Economy and Finance Keat Chhon insisted Wednesday that Cambodia had recorded positive growth last year; however, international analysts including the International Monetary Fund, World Bank, Asian Development Bank and Economist Intelligence Unit have all estimated small contractions of up to about 2.8 percent.

MOST VIEWED

  • ‘Education’ a priority traffic-law penalty

    A top National Police official on June 21 neither rejected nor confirmed the authenticity of a leaked audio message, which has gone viral on social media, on a waiver of fines for a number of road traffic-related offences. General Him Yan, deputy National Police chief in

  • Siem Reap’s $18M zoo said to educate public, help wildlife

    Angkor Wildlife and Aquarium Co Ltd has invested $18 million in a zoo in Siem Reap province, which will be opened in October to educate and promote animal conservation as well as attract national and international tourists. Currently, the Angkor Wildlife and Aquarium is building the

  • Volunteer scheme to foster ‘virtuous’ humanitarian spirit

    A senior education official said volunteer work contributes to solidarity and promotes a virtuous humanitarian spirit among the youth and communities. Serei Chumneas, undersecretary of state at the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport, made the comment during the opening of a training programme called “

  • Chinese firms unveil preliminary results on metro, monorail for capital

    Minister of Public Works and Transport Sun Chanthol and representatives from China Road and Bridge Corp (CRBC) and its parent company, the state-owned China Communications Construction Co Ltd (CCCC), met on June 24 for talks on results of the firms’ preliminary study on a potential metro

  • Nestle’s debut may spur dairy market

    Leading confectionery manufacturer Nestle plans to invest in Cambodia by setting up an operation in the near future, a move majorly hailed by local dairy farmers as a means of boosting the fresh milk market in the Kingdom. During a visit by a delegation led

  • ACLEDA, WU to enable global money transfers

    Cambodia's largest commercial bank by total assets ACLEDA Bank Plc and global money transfer firm Western Union (WU) have partnered to offer customers cross-border money transfers to 200 countries via “ACLEDA mobile” app. In Channy, president and group managing director of ACLEDA, said the June 22 agreement