Food inflation highest in 11 years 9 months  

The general point-to-point inflation rate in July 2021 came down at 5.36 percentage points
Prothom Alo file photo

Food inflation seems to be slipping out of control, remaining above 12 per cent for three consecutive months.  

According to the latest data from the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS), food inflation reached 12.56 per cent in October, marking the highest rate in the past 11 years 9 months. On Monday night, BBS released updated inflation figures, revealing that the overall price inflation also saw a slight increase to 9.93 per cent in October. 

Inflation is like a tax that burdens everyone, regardless of their wealth. Food inflation, in particular, has surged, affecting the poor and the middle class. Currently, the prices of various goods in the market are significantly high. Prices of essential items, such as eggs, onions, and potatoes, are fluctuating. Additionally, the costs of vegetables, fish, and meat have also risen. 

To simplify the picture of food inflation: In October 2022, food price inflation stood at 12.56 per cent. This means that if a person spent 100 taka to purchase all food products, including rice, lentils, oil, sugar, fish, and meat in October 2022, they would need to spend 112.56 taka to buy the same items in October of this year. In other words, the cost of purchasing food has increased by 12.56 taka per 100 taka over the course of one year. 

In January 2012, food inflation stood at 12.73 per cent. Food inflation suddenly surged into double digits for the first time in a decade in August and has remained above 12 per cent for three consecutive months. 

Selim Raihan, the executive director of the private research institute South Asian Network on Economic Modeling (SANEM), expressed his concern to Prothom Alo, stating, “Food inflation is becoming increasingly perilous. The government's efforts over the past year to control inflation have proven ineffective. For example, despite the delayed announcement of egg imports, the eggs have just arrived in the country. Moreover, there are concerns about potential political unrest and violence in the coming months. In such a situation, there is little likelihood that inflation will decrease in the next two to three months, which will exacerbate the suffering of the poor.” 

According to the BBS, food inflation remains approximately the same in both urban and rural areas. In villages, food inflation stands at 12.53 per cent, while in the city, this rate has slightly increased to 12.58 per cent. 

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The inflation data for October reveals that overall inflation has reached 9.93 per cent, up from 9.63 per cent in the previous month. Inflation has exceeded 9 per cent since March of this year. 

Selim Raihan, the Executive Director of SANEM, believes that urgent measures are necessary to alleviate inflationary pressure. He noted that policymakers will be preoccupied with various issues for the next two to three months. Additionally, controlling inflation through policy management on an urgent basis may not be feasible. Raihan suggests expanding the scope of open market sales (OMS) and increasing the coverage of social safety programs as a whole.