Point-to-point inflation increased slightly in March to 5.48 per cent from that of 5.46 per cent in February mainly due to the increase in cost of non-food items, data from the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics under the planning ministry showed.
Non-food inflation increased significantly by 0.22 percentage points to 6.45 per cent in March from 6.23 per cent a month ago.
Food inflation, however, declined by 0.10 percentage points to 4.87 per cent in March from that of 4.97 per cent in February although the prices of many food items, including rice, pulse and edible oil soared in the month as consumers went for panic buying in fear of supply shortages and price hikes following the detection of coronavirus in the country.
Planning minister MA Mannan at a press briefing on March 3 also showed concerns that inflation might rise following possible disruptions in the import and supply of goods from China due to the coronavirus outbreak in the country.
He said that a shortage in the product supply as part of the impacts of the epidemic might cause inflation to rise.
The BBS data also showed that the price of per kilogram of rice increased by Tk 3-5 in Dhaka city during the month of March compared to the previous month.
The price of pulse also surged significantly in the month.
The prices of sugar, molasses, edible oil, chilli, garlic, turmeric, ginger, salt and potato also rose in the city’s kitchen markets during the month, according to the BBS data.
Point-to-point inflation and non-food inflation in both the urban and rural areas increased in March from the prices reported in the previous month.
Food inflation, however, declined in both the urban and rural areas in the month.
In the urban areas, general inflation stood at 5.49 per cent in March, increasing from 5.48 per cent a month back.
Non-food inflation increased to 6.69 per cent in the month from 6.36 per cent in February while food inflation dropped to 4.44 per cent in March from that of 4.70 per cent a month back.
Food and non-food inflations increased to 5.47 per cent and 6.27 per cent respectively in the rural areas in March which were 5.44 per cent and 6.12 per cent in the previous month.
Food inflation fell to 5.06 per cent in the rural areas in March from that of 5.09 per cent in February, according to the data.
According to the data, the national wage index rate dropped to 6.46 in March from 6.16 per cent in February as a result of falling wages in all three sectors — agriculture, industry and services.
The data showed that the wage index rate for agriculture decreased to 6.58 per cent in the month from 6.65 per cent in February.
The wage index rates for industry and services declined to 6.14 per cent and 6.52 per cent respectively in March from that of 6.15 per cent and 6.53 per cent respectively in February.
Want stories like this in your inbox?
Sign up to exclusive daily email
More Stories from Trade & Commerce