Planning minister warns of coronavirus impact on inflation

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Planning minister MA Mannan on Tuesday said if novel coronavirus cannot be contained then it might have some impact on inflation in the coming months, reports news agency UNB.

“Corona (virus) is a global fear now and the global trade and commerce have already been affected to some extent due to the virus fallout. If it’s not contained, then there might be some impact," said the minister while briefing reporters revealing the monthly consumer price index after the day’s ECNEC meeting held at NEC conference room in the city.

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He said as the country’s manufacturing sector is dependent on raw material import, there will be price hike of these materials if the supply is hampered due to virus outbreak. "Naturally, the price level will see a rise that can’t be controlled."

The minister, however, said it is a matter of great hope that the shipment of goods from China has started.

He said the inflation rate in February, 2020 eased to 5.46 per cent against 5.57 per cent in January, 2020.

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The planning minister said the inflation rate declined by 0.11 per cent last month mainly because of the availability of vegetables and fish. “The supply flow was good.”

The Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS) data showed that the food inflation declined to 4.97 per cent in February from 5.12 per cent in the previous month, while the non-food inflation rate also declined slightly to 6.23 per cent last month from 6.30 per cent in January.

In rural areas, the general inflation rate declined to 5.44 per cent in the last month from 5.52 per cent in January.

The general inflation rate also came down to 5.48 per cent in February from 5.67 per cent in January in the urban areas.

The point-to-point national wage index was 6.51 per cent in February against 6.56 per cent in January 2020.