5:13 pm - Sunday April 18, 2737

Inflation rises: Minister blames hilsa

The overall point-to-point inflation witnessed a rise for the third consecutive months and stood at 6.32 per cent in April from 6.27 per cent in March, according to Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics.

In April last year, the point-to-point inflation was 7.46 per cent.

hilsal-fish-300Apart from the general inflation rate, the rate of food inflation also rose marginally while the non-food inflation witnessed a downward trend in April, the data showed.

‘The rate of inflation rose slightly in April mainly due to price hike of some food items and consumers’ buying spree for hilsa fish in the month to celebrate Pahela Baishakh,’ planning minister AHM Mustafa Kamal told reporters at a press briefing on Wednesday.

The ministry organised the briefing at NEC auditorium to release the monthly consumer price index.

The supply deficit against the excessive demand for hilsa fish put impact on food inflation, he said.

On the occasion, demand for some other products also increased, he added.

An expert and BBS officials, however, said that the price hike of hilsa, as a single item, had no significant impact on overall inflation, rather the demand and price for some other essential items including clothes and sweetmeat increased on the occasion.

It is true that excessive demand and price of hilsa affected the rise of inflation rate, but that was insignificant considering the low weight of fish, particularly hilsa, on inflation, a BBS official told New Age.

Additional demand led price hike of other essential products including clothes put an impact on inflation in April, he said.

Economist and finance adviser to the former caretaker government Mirza Azizul Islam said that supply chain disruption was the main reason behind the rising trend of inflation rate in the country.

Regarding the minister’s statement about the involvement of hilsa on the rise of inflation, he said that the minister might have attributed hilsa in a symbolic way as the demand and price of some other items including new clothes and sweetmeat also increased on the occasion.

He, however, said that there was nothing to be worried on the situation related to inflation as it remained under control and by the end of the year it would remain more or less near the government’s target of 6.5 per cent.

According to the BBS data, food inflation rose to 6.48 per cent in April from 6.37 per cent in previous month while non-food inflation fell to 6.08 per cent in the month which was 6.12 per cent in March.

Non-food inflation dropped due to fall in price of petroleum products in international market.

The government set a target of containing point-to-point inflation within 6.5 per cent in the current fiscal year which would end in June and Kamal hoped the target would be achieved.

The general inflation started to rise in February due to disruption in communication and political unrest that caused price hike in food and non-food items.

Indefinite blockades and frequent hartals imposed by the BNP-led political alliance that ended early in April starting in the first week of January disrupted the transportation of goods in the country.

According to the BBS data, point-to-point inflation and food inflation increased in April in both the urban and rural areas.

Non-food inflation rate, however, dropped marginally in both urban and rural areas in the country.

Overall inflation in urban areas stood at 6.88 per cent in April against 6.03 per cent in rural areas.

In March, overall inflation rate was 6.77 per cent and 6.01 per cent in urban and rural areas respectively.

At the rural level, the food inflation stood at 5.99 per cent this April, up from 5.95 per cent in the previous month, while the non-food inflation decreased to 6.09 per cent as against 6.13 per cent in March.

Besides, in urban areas the food inflation stood at 7.62 per cent in April, up from 7.36 per cent in the previous month. But the non-food inflation rate witnessed a downward trend and it stood at 6.07 per cent as against 6.11 per cent in March, the data showed.

On a monthly basis, the food inflation increased by 0.12 per cent in April compared to that of March mainly due to price hike of food items including fish, meat, vegetables, fruit, milk and milk related items.

Non-food inflation increased by 0.05 per cent as the price of cloth, house rent, furniture, transport, household materials and cost of education increased in April.

The average overall inflation stood at 6.56 per cent in May, 2014 to April, 2015 period compared with that of 7.48 per cent in May, 2013 to April, 2014 period, the data showed.

Courtesy:New Age