Feature: Vietnam faces rising consumer prices


by Thai Thanh Van

    HANOI, Nov. 19 (Xinhua) — “It’s hard to live in the times when prices of everything see dizzy rise as now. My pension of over one million Vietnamese dong (VND) (62.5 U.S. dollars) is just enough for food in 10 days,” 58-year-old Vietnamese housewife Nguyen Thi Hanh said.

    “Prices of dairy products and meat now nearly double those of two months ago,” the woman said, while shopping at a local market in Vietnam’s Hanoi capital city.

    Vietnam’s consumer prices experienced a year-on-year increase of 9.34 percent in October, partly driven by higher costs of foods, foodstuffs, construction materials, and pharmaceuticals, according to the country’s General Statistics Office.

    Among 10 commodities and services used in calculating consumer price index, food and foodstuff saw respective price hikes of 15.98 percent and 14.19 percent last month.

    The higher consumer prices are mainly due to the impacts of flooding, diseases, and increased costs of some imported materials and products such as gold, steel, petroleum and pharmaceuticals, Vietnamese Finance Minister Vu Van Ninh said, adding that the country now has to import up to nearly 100 percent of petroleum products, 80 percent of milk materials, and over 60 percent of steel billets.

    Local experts forecast that the prices would continue to rise in the approaching months, due to increasing demand of goods, especially during the upcoming Lunar New Year festival, the acceleration of construction projects, and anticipated hikes of imported prices of some products.

    To curb the price pressure, Vietnam has focused on intensifying state management on prices, reducing tariffs of some imported items, speeding up production, and controlling the movement of capital streams.

    The Finance Ministry has proposed the government set pricing ceilings on 13 items, including steel, oil and gas, sugarcane, fertilizer, beverage and tobacco, garment, footwear, construction material, household utensil and pharmaceutical.

    In another move, the country has decided to cut import tax on new completely-built cars to 60 percent from 70 percent, halved tariffs on some dairy products, and removed tariffs on gas.

    Besides, the ministry has proposed the government lower import taxes on food, foodstuffs, animal feeds and construction materials.

    Regarding production-related measure, the government has asked state officials in charge of specific fields to directly instruct firms to actively accelerate production, increase productivity, slash production cost, enhance products’ competitiveness, and ensure the sufficient supply of goods with reasonable prices, especially food, foodstuffs, petroleum, fertilizers, steel, cement and medicines.

    It has also required ministries, sectors, and localities to instruct stronger production and preparation of goods and services slated for the New Year festival, especially food, foodstuffs, confectionery, beer, wine, clothes, publications and means of transports to prevent sudden rises in their prices before and after the event.

    As for controlling capital streams, the government has instructed the Finance Ministry to keep on issuing government bonds in the 2007-2008 period, and coordinating with the Ministry of Planning and Investment to accelerate the disbursement of capital for state-funded investment projects, and with ministries of Industry and Trade, Construction, and Health to strengthen inspection and management of prices of petroleum products, real estates, medicines, steel and gas to prevent speculation.

    “Despite all of the price-cutting measures, we have yet to see any positive changes in the market. Prices still rise every day,” said 40-year-old administrative clerk Tran Thi Hue from Hanoi. “I think the best way is to increase salary.”

    Vietnam, which had consumer price index of 6.6 percent in 2006,has eyed to keep this year’s index lower than the targeted economic growth of 8.5 percent.

Editor: Yao Siyan

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: