BBS reports a fall in food inflation in April despite price hikes during Ramadan

The Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics has reported a fall in food inflation in April, despite a hike in prices caused by the heightened demand in Ramadan and a global shortage due to the Ukraine-Russia war.

General inflation, however, increased to 6.29 percent, the highest in one and a half years, with inflation in rural areas rising at 6.59 percent, according to the latest data from the national statistical agency. General inflation was around 5.6 percent a year ago.

Prices of food and other commodities have been rising on the global market for quite some time as the Ukraine-Russia war struck the world economy while it was recovering from the coronavirus pandemic.

Bangladesh has been no exception and food prices soared in April when the country observed Ramadan. Prices of soybean oil, vegetables, fruits and many other products increased in the month.

But the BBS said food inflation was 6.34 percent in the month, down from 6.34 percent in March. The April food inflation was, however, up from around 5.6 percent in the same month last year.

Md Ziauddin Ahmed, director of the BBS’s National Accounting Wing, defended the data, saying: “Cooking oil prices increased slightly in April, but prices of rice, onion, garlic, vegetables and some other food products were a bit low. This is why food inflation fell from the previous month.”

The BBS workers gather data from the markets across Bangladesh in the first 15 days of a month and that data are averaged to determine monthly inflation on a point-to-point basis, according to him.

Non-food inflation increased to 6.39 percent from 6.04 percent in March and 5.55 percent in April 2021.

The government aims to keep the inflation rate within 5.30 percent in FY22 and prevent a price spiral as the economy claws its way out of a pandemic-induced slump after it had failed to meet the target of 5 percent in FY21.