CPI Rises by 4.53% in February

CPI Rises by 4.53% in February

Reflecting increased costs for both food and non-food items

The Consumer Price Index (CPI) for February 2024 showed a notable increase of 4.53% compared to the same month in the previous year. This surge in the CPI primarily stems from a 6.08% rise in the food index and a 3.22% increase in the non-food index.

Released by the National Statistics Bureau (NSB), the CPI Bulletin for February 2024 indicates a widespread uptick in indices across major divisions, with exceptions in transport and communication. Transport index decreased by 0.98%, while the communication index saw a notable decline of 7.08%. Conversely, indices for food, non-alcoholic beverages, alcoholic beverages, and betel nuts all experienced notable increases.

Month-on-month data reveals a slight uptick in the CPI by 0.12% from January 2024. The food index saw a marginal decrease of 0.05%, while the non-food index increased by 0.26%. Additionally, the transport index increased by 0.9% compared to January 2024.

Notably, the NSB reported a 4.23% increase in the prices of household goods and services from 2022 to 2023, marking a decrease from the 5.64% increase observed in 2022. Among the major groups, health recorded the highest increase at 12.47%, while transport saw the lowest increase at 0.85%.

The NSBโ€™s monthly CPI bulletin highlights significant increases in indices across various sectors, including food and non-alcoholic beverages, housing and utilities, health, recreation and culture, education, and restaurants and hotels. Alcoholic beverages and betel nuts saw a rise of 3.46%, while housing and utilities increased by 3.11%.

Moreover, the purchasing power of Ngultrum, as measured by the CPI, stood at Nu 56.4 in February 2024 compared to December 2012. This signifies that Nu 100 in February 2024 is equivalent to Nu 56.4 in December 2012, reflecting a 4.33% drop in purchasing power over the past year.

The CPI serves as a crucial economic indicator, tracking changes in the prices of a fixed basket of goods and services over time. With 113 items classified according to the Classification of Individual Consumption According to Purpose (COICOP), the CPI provides valuable insights into inflation rates and consumer purchasing power.

The NSBโ€™s comprehensive pricing methodology encompasses approximately 450 outlets, ensuring a robust and representative assessment of price movements across Bhutan.

By Sherab Dorji, Thimphu