Less contracted inflation in March is in line with the improvement of demands, the Ministry of Commerce said

Thai headline consumer price index (CPI) dropped 0.08 per cent year-on-year in March to 99.11 points, the smallest contraction seen in 13 months, due to higher energy and swine prices, the Ministry of Commerce said on Monday.

“Less contracted inflation in March signaled good signs from the past month, in line with improvement in domestic and international demand,” said Wichanun Niwatjinda, a deputy director at the Trade Policy and Strategy Office.

In February, the headline CPI fell 1.17 per cent from the previous year. The average headline CPI in the first quarter stood at 0.53 per cent contraction.

Prices of the energy sector turned positive in 14 months, up 1.35 per cent on higher domestic retail fuel prices in line with the global market, according to Wichanun. He said that cooking palm oil and swine prices were still high following the African swine fever in many regions.

Of the 430 product and service items used to calculate inflation, the prices of 216 items rose in March. 148 items such as power bills, rice and glutinous rice saw a decline, while the rest of the 66 items remain unchanged.

Excluding energy and food categories, core CPI of March stood at 100.42 point, rising 0.09 per cent year-on-year, contributing to the average core CPI of the first quarter at 0.12 per cent rise.

The CPI, however, is expected to rise during the second quarter of the year based on the low base last year, Wichanun said.

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