Food inflation hits 7-month high

It has been attributed to spiralling prices of essentials due to political turmoil which has disrupted the country’s supply chain

  • Sellers and buyers bargaining at a temporary kitchen market on footpath in the city’s Motijheel area
    Photo- Nashirul Islam

The food inflation rose to 8.55% on a point-to-point basis in November hitting seven months high, said Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics data released yesterday.

It has been attributed to spiralling prices of essentials due to political turmoil which has disrupted the country’s supply chain.

The food inflation is the highest since April this year, putting an extra pressure on consumers’ coffer. According to BBS data, the food inflation was 8.38% in October.

Analysts predict the food prices would continue to increase in the months to come as there is still no hope of any solution to political impasse. The non-food inflation saw a marginal rise to 5.08% during the month from previous month’s 5.02%, the latest BBS data showed. This has pushed up overall inflation to soar to 7.15% from 7.03% in the previous month. It was highest in three months from August’s 6.38%.

“Food inflation continued to rise because of supply chain disruptions caused by political programmes,” said BBS Director General Golam Mostafa Kamal. He said prices of essentials like fish, pulse and some vegetables increased during the period.

Food inflation was higher in urban areas than that of rural areas during the month, Golam Mostafa Kamal added.

In the rural areas, food inflation rose to 8.06% from 7.86% in the previous month. In the urban areas, it witnessed a rising trend reaching 9.67% from 9.64%.

The commodity that soared the highest was onion. The price of the product surged by more than 8% in last one month, according to Trading Corporation of Bangladesh.

The other food items whose prices rose included pulses (local) with around 5%, ginger 24% and rice (fine) 7%, said TCB.

Ahsan H Mansur, executive director of Policy Research Institute, said: “One of the main reasons behind the price hikes is the breaking of the country’s supply chain. It’s making production and delivery of goods costlier.” The continuous blockades have affected the country’s food supply chain, leading to increase food items prices, he pointed out.

According to Ahsan H Mansur, food prices have increased during hartals which drove transport costs high. On overall inflation, he said the problem is insignificant and manageable if political dusts can be settled as early as possible. “It (overall inflation) was almost close to the fiscal target of 7%.

Source: Dhaka Tribune