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Inflation Down But Cost Of Living Remains High

Source: Vientiane Times

The year-on-year inflation rate for February dropped to 1.91 percent, the lowest in two years, according to the latest report from the Lao Statistics Bureau.

But many Lao people observe that product prices are continuing to rise significantly and say there are an increasing number of expensive products on sale in markets.

This situation ramps up pressure on people to boost their income and earn more money, with many complaining that their income has not increased as anticipated amid rising inflation.

According to the Lao Statistics Bureau, the Consumer Price Index (CPI) stood at 113.61 points in February, indicating an inflation rate of 1.91 percent year-on-year, down from the 2.01 percent recorded in January.

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The bureau attributed the lower inflation rate to a slowdown in price increases for goods and services, especially in the food and non-alcohol beverage category.

The main challenge for authorities at present is to regulate the retail price of pork. Vendors have been told to sell pork for not more than 44,000 kip per kg but many have refused to do so, saying they cannot sell pork at this price because high production costs and an insufficient supply of pork drives the price up.

The weakening value of the kip against the Thai baht and US dollar are among the main drivers of inflation.

In February, prices in the food and non-alcohol beverage category dropped by 0.79 percent month-on-month and increased by 2.4 percent year-on-year.

The price of pork rose by 13.92 percent year-on-year, beef by 8.16 percent, and vegetables by 10.78 percent.

Prices in the clothing and footwear category rose by 0.1 percent month-on-month and 3.63 percent year-on-year, with the price of women’s clothing surging by 5.89 percent and men’s clothing by 1.14 percent year-on-year.

The cost of household goods went up by 0.18 percent month-on-month and 3.15 percent year-on-year.

The price of interior decor items rose by 3.92 percent year-on-year, with furniture increasing by 1.32 percent year-on-year, kitchen items by 4.21 percent, and household goods by 3.36 percent year-on-year.

Prices in the medical care category climbed by 0.07 percent month-on-month and 3.66 percent year-on-year, while costs in the communication and transport category rose by 0.29 percent month-on-month and 1.32 percent year-on-year.

The price of petrol increased by 2.96 percent month-on-month while prices in the restaurant and hotel category rose by 0.06 percent month-on-month.

The cost of jewellery rose by 23.94 percent year-on-year, with the price of ornamental gold items increasing by 30.26 percent year-on-year.