CPI increased by 4.99% in March

CPI increased by 4.99% in March

Both food and non-food index increased by 6.95% and 3.34% respectively

The Consumer Price Index (CPI) for the month of March 2024 increased by 4.99% compared to the same month the previous year. The increase in the CPI is mainly attributed to the increased food index by 6.95% and the increase in non-food index by 3.34%.

According to the CPI bulletin for March 2024 released by the National Statistics Bureau (NSB), except for the transport and communication major divisions, there has been an increase in the indices for all major divisions.

The index for transport decreased by 0.07%, while the index for food and non-alcoholic beverages increased by 7.20% and that for alcoholic beverages and betel nuts increased by 3.70%.

The month-on-month CPI in March 2024 increased by 0.07% from February 2024, while the CPI of food increased by 0.2% and that of non-food decreased by 0.4%, amongst others.

Over the month, the index of transport increased by 0.15%, which is 0.75% points less than the previous month. While the food and non-alcoholic beverages index increased by 0.18% from February, alcoholic beverages and betel nuts increased by 0.52%.ย  In addition, there has been a decrease in the index of housing and utilities by 0.4%.

The NSB also stated that the prices of household goods and services increased by 4.23% from 2022 to 2023, a decrease of 1.41% points compared to a 5.64% increase in 2022. There was a lower rate of increase in the non-food items by 4.44% compared to a 7.10% increase in 2021.

Among the twelve major groups last year, health recorded the highest increase with 12.47% while the lowest increase was recorded for transport with 0.85%. Except for the index of communication which decreased by 1.06%, the annual CPI for all other divisions has increased.

According to the monthly CPI bulletin, there is a noticeable increase in indices of food and non-alcoholic beverages, housing and utilities, health, recreation and culture, education, and even restaurants and hotels.

The CPI for alcoholic beverages and betel nuts increased by 3.46% points, and housing and utilities increased by 3.11% points.

Similarly, the index for health has also increased by 8.27% points and that of recreation and culture increased by 4.36% points, while transport saw a huge decrease in the index by 11.74% points from 2022 to 2023.

The purchasing power of Ngultrum as measured by CPI is Nu 56.4 as of Marchย  2024 compared to December 2012, meaning, Nu 100 in March 2024 is worth only Nu 56.4 at December 2012 prices.

The purchasing power of Ngultrum as measured by CPI has dropped by 4.75% in the last year from March 2023 to March 2024 due to price increases in the economy.

Meanwhile, the CPI is a measure of the average change in the prices of a fixed basket of goods and services bought by households in a particular country over time. It is a widely used economic indicator that helps track the rate of inflation and the purchasing power of consumers.

For instance, the CPI baskets have a total of 113 items (314 varieties) classified according to the Classification of Individual Consumption According to Purpose (COICOP).

A total of about 450 outlets were selected for pricing.

By Sherab Dorji, Thimphu