Bhutanese importers feel the heat as govt. suspends import of vehicles

Transport cost among major drivers of inflation – NSB

Both food and non-food dropped by 1.49% and 6.81% respectively compared to January month

The recently released data by the National Statistical Bureau (NSB) showed that the rising prices for gas, liquid and solid fuels, and passenger transportation (by road and air) were some of the major factors contributing to the increase in core inflation.

These factors have been identified as factors pressuring the inflation rate, which reached a high of 12.36% in January.

However, the Consumer Price Index (CPI) for the month of January 2023 had increased by 4.33% compared to the same month last year. The inflation rate is 0.11% points lesser than the rate recorded in the previous month of December, which was 4.44%.

However, the rate for both food and non-food dropped by 1.49% and 6.81% respectively compared to January month, 2022 respectively.

According to the report, transport was the main driver with a 12.36% increase, contributing to 43% of the overall inflation followed by clothing and footwear recording 7.39%, contributing 16% to the overall inflation. 

In addition, Food & non-alcoholic beverages recorded a 1.28% increase, contributing 14 percent to the overall inflation.

Similarly, month-on-month CPI in January is 0.56%, which is an increase from November. Both the food and non-food prices increased in comparison to the previous month, the increase being 0.66% and 0.47% respectively.

Except for transport which decreased by 0.17%, communication which decreased by 0.43% and housing & utilities which decreased by 0.09%, the prices of the other nine major divisions have increased. 

And the prices of household goods and services increased by 5.64% from 2021 to 2022. This was a decrease of 1.71 percentage points compared to 7.35% increase in 2021.

Meanwhile, the lower rate in 2022 was due to lower rate of increase in food by 3.95% compared to a 9.38% increase in 2021. Food prices contributed to about 34% of the overall inflation rate in 2022 and non-food contributed to 66% of the total increase.

In 2021, food prices were the main driver of the inflation rate contributing to almost 60% of the total increase.

Among the 12 major divisions, food & alcoholic beverages contributed to more than 33% of the total increase in 2022, followed by transport with about 33% and clothing & footwear with about 13% contribution to the total increase.

However, among the twelve major groups, transport recorded the highest increase with 12.59% while alcoholic beverages and betel nut recorded the lowest increase with 1.16 %. All other divisions recorded an increase except for communication which fell by 1.46%.

Meanwhile, the purchasing power of Ngultrum as measured by CPI is Nu. 59 as of January 2023 compared to December 2012. This means, Nu. 100 in January 2023 is worth only Nu. 59 at December 2012 prices.

The Purchasing Power of Ngultrum as measured by CPI has dropped by 4.15 percent in the last year (from January 2022 to January 2023) due to price increases in the economy.

Nidup Lhamo from Thimphu