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Pandemic causes rise in Consumer Price Index

Khmer Times Staff / Khmer Times Share:

The COVID-19 pandemic has increased the Consumer Price Index (CPI) , according to a monthly report from the  Ministry of Commerce.

The CPI is based on daily basic products including rice, meat, fish, face masks and hand sanitisers in eight cities and provinces from March 2 to April 6.

According to the report, rice prices in Siem Reap and Prah Sihanouk province reached 2,000 riel per kilogramme, a 33.33 percent and 17.56 percent increase respectively. The figure shows the price in Phnom Penh increased 9 per cent to 2,180 riel a kilogramme.

Seang Thay, spokesman at the Ministry of Commerce declined to comment, saying he has yet to see the report.

In Kandal, Svay Rieng, and Kampong Cham and Battambang provinces, the price of beef increased between 36,000 and 45,000 riel per kilogramme, a 10 percent increase compared with early March. Pork rose up to 59 percent to 35,000 riel per kilogramme, according to the report.

However, Srun Pov, president of the Cambodia Pig Farmers Association, said that while the cost has jumped for end users, animal raisers are facing a drop in prices.

“COVID-19 caused the cancellation of all ceremonies such as wedding parties while some restaurants have been closed so the huge need for meat is drying up,” he said. “However, the vendors at the market need to increase the price for their families’ consumption to offset the loss.”

Srun said live chickens now sell for just 2,000 riel a kilogramme while ducks are 6,000 riel a kilo.

“Chicken raisers in Takeo province’s Bati district could not sell all their chickens at the market and now they have 100,000 of them at their farms,” he said.

According to Srun, currently Cambodia imports about 2,000 to 3,000 pigs a day from Thailand.

Besides food, the ministry report shows that surgical masks, alcohol, hand sanitisers and temperature kits, which are in high demand at the moment, have risen in price betweeen 30 and 100 percent.

The price of surgical masks has increased to between 64,000 riel and 100,000 riel per box, while alcohol has increased to 14,000 riel per 500ml container in Phnom Penh markets, a 100 percent jump from March.

The report shows that hand sanitiser prices have gone up to 20,000 riel per 500ml, a 150 percent increase from early March, while temperature kits have increased to between 260,000 riel and 300,000 riel per unit.

Prime Minister Hun Sen warned late March he would order the closure of any pharmacies that increase the price of face masks beyond the market price during the pandemic.

While some consumer goods have seen prices increased, the cost of gasoline has fallen significantly.

The cost of regular petrol sold between  April 1 to15, was 2,350 riel ($0.58) per litre and diesel was 2,450 riel a litre. Compared with the last 15 days in March, the price  declined by 700 riel, from 3,050 riel per litre for regular petrol and 2,800 riel per litre of diesel, according to the report.


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