Main CPI down on lower energy prices, govt subsidy

Main CPI down on lower energy prices, govt subsidy

The headline consumer price index (CPI) in January dropped a less than expected 0.34% from a year earlier, due to lower energy prices and a government utilities subsidy after a new coronavirous outbreak, the commerce ministry said on Friday.

The January reading, marking an 11th straight month of decline, compared with a forecast fall of 0.40% in a Reuters poll and December's 0.27% dip.

The core CPI index rose 0.21% in January from a year earlier, compared with a forecast of a 0.20% rise. January's CPI data was the first month that was calculated with a new base year.

However, the main CPI is expected to rise from the second quarter of the year, when the subsidy ends, ministry official Pimchanok Pitfield said at a media briefing.

"There are still factors weighing on inflation in the first quarter. But if the subsidy is not extended, inflation will rebound," she said.

The slump in tourism is a worry as it reduces consumers' incomes and spending, she added.

Thailand's tourism-reliant economy has suffered from the slump in tourism since a travel ban last April to curb the Covid-19 pandemic. The new wave emerged in December has dealt another blow to the country's consumption and tourism.

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