Cambodia's inflation rose by 5.49 per cent year-on-year in the first quarter of the year, due to increases in food and fuel prices, according to the monthly data from the National Institute of Statistics compiled by the Post.
However, economists and government officials said they were not concerned about any impact on the country’s macro economy.
The data showed the price of gasoline rose by 13.12 per cent, food and non-alcoholic beverages rose by 6.87 per cent, milled rice went up by 6.67 per cent, meat increased about 15 per cent, of which pork rose by 19 per cent, fish and seafood increased by 5 per cent, vegetables rose by 8.58 per cent, alcoholic beverages, tobacco and medicines increased by 1.22 per cent, clothing and footwear by 4.23 per cent.
Meanwhile electricity, cooking gas and other fuels went up 2.64 per cent, transport rose by 7.76 per cent and miscellaneous goods and services rose by 9.36 per cent.
Hang Chuon Naron, secretary of state of the Ministry of Economy and Finance, said in May that the current inflation situation in the country was not too bad compared to some other countries in the region.
“Our inflation is manageable, it averaged 5.5 per cent in 2011 and in March this year was 5.4 per cent,’ he said.
“We cannot control the price of oil due to its importation by private companies. When it increases, we just ask them not to increase it too much, but it is a free economy,” he said.
“I do not envisage any serious negative impact to Cambodian economy if the inflation rate is around 5 per cent,” said Hiroshi Suzuki, CEO and Chief Economist of the Business Research Institute for Cambodia (BRIC).
“I envisage the CPI of Cambodia will be stable for the time being,” he added, but he said low-income-earners in Phnom Penh are most likely to be affected by the rise, and it will reduce their purchasing power accordingly.
Mat Chenda, a pork and beef seller in Kapkor market in Phnom Penh, who sells about 20 kilos per day, said she noticed that the price of pork rose sharply this year, while the price of beef had also increased.
“We got complaints from buyers but I have no idea about the rise: whenever our wholesaler increases prices, we will follow,” she said. “But I heard that the increase in beef prices was due to the ending of beef importation from Vietnam.”
She said that a kilogram of pork was 18,000 riel and beef 33,000 riel on Monday, and she bought pork at 17,000 riel and 32,000 riel for beef from the wholesaler.
Sok Samul, a motor taxi driver in Phnom Penh, complained that the rise has definitely hit his income, which pays for his three children, accommodation and daily expenses.
“I can earn between 20,000 to 30,000 riel per day but I also have expenses of around 20,000 riel per day on food,” he said.
To contact the reporter on this story: May Kunmakara at [email protected]