Inflation Rate at 4.2% to October

Cambodia’s inflation rate increased by 4.2 percent in the 12-month period to October, with food prices accounting for more than half of the rate, according to data released Monday by the National Institute of Statistics.

Food and non-alcoholic beverages increased in price by 5.5 percent between October 2012 and October 2013, and contributed 2.8 percent of the overall increase, according to the data.

The price of rice grew 3.4 percent and the price of noodles increased 8.1 percent. Meat increased 6.6 percent, with fresh beef jumping 7.7 percent and chicken increasing by 6.5 percent. Fish and seafood increased by 4.1 percent with fresh fish increasing by 3.6 percent. The overall price for vegetables increased by 8.9 percent.

Clothing and footwear increased by 5.3 percent; housing went up slightly by 0.8 percent; and health costs increased by 9.8 percent. Transportation decreased by 0.9 percent.

The monthly inflation rate grew from 3.4 percent in August to 3.9 percent in September. Data for the month of October is the most recent available.

Neou Seiha, an independent economic analyst, said recent floods and stricter tax collection has driven up the price of food, particularly vegetables, but that the rate was manageable.

“The flood contributed a little to the increase in food price…. Previously, some people tried to evade taxes or didn’t pay full taxes on their imported goods, but the government now restricts that, so the price could go up slightly,” he said.

But Mr. Seiha stressed that the government should be wary of rising inflation, which should ideally remain at less than 5 percent to reduce the burden on low-income consumers.

“The government has to be careful not to let the rate grow over 5 percent. It would be better if inflation can be kept at just 3 percent,” he said.

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