Commerce Ministry says inflation higher, but predictable

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BANGKOK, May 1 – Thailand’s inflation in April was reported at 104.9 — a 2.42 per cent increase year-on-year due to higher food prices, the permanent secretary for commerce said today.

Vatcharee Vimuktayon said prices of foods and non-alcoholic beverages increased by 4.15 per cent, breaking down to 0.74 per cent higher for rice, flour and flour products, 6.15 per cent higher for poultry and marine life products, and 13.14 per cent higher for vegetables and fruits.

The April Consumer Price Index or inflation increased by 0.16 per cent compared to the preceding month given prices foods and non-alcoholic beverages rising by 1.12 per cent, and vegetables and fruits surging by 6.30 per cent.

Inflation in the first four months of this year climbed 2.92 per cent, a figure she described as normal and in accord with expanding consumption.

Ms Vatcharee said the strong Thai baht has automatically resulted in declining oil prices and contributed to a minor increase in inflation.

This year’s inflation should be at around 2.80-3.40 per cent as predicted by the Commerce Ministry, she said.

She said the approaching adjustments in expressway and Skytrain fares, and cooking gas in June will have minimal impact on inflation.

She said the Commerce Ministry will meet with 300 small- and medium-size business operators on May 16 to find ways to assist them in light of the surge of the Thai currency.