DHAKA, March 14 Annual inflation in Bangladesh
accelerated in February for the second straight month, the
planning minister said on Tuesday, driven by a jump in food
Consumer prices in February rose 5.31 percent from a year
earlier, accelerating from 5.15 percent the previous month, the
minister, Mustafa Kamal, told a news conference.
Annual food inflation in February quickened to 6.84 percent
from 6.53 percent the previous month, while non-food inflation
dropped to 3.07 percent from 3.10 percent.
A spike in the prices of beef and edible oil drove the surge
in food inflation, the minister said.
The drop in prices of non-food items, however, could be
short-lived, as the government raised heavily-subsidised gas
prices from this month, prompting protests.
The government also plans to raise electricity tariffs in a
bid to cut subsidies, which is likely to fuel public anger over
the cost of living in the impoverished country of 160 million.
Average inflation was 5.92 percent in the previous financial
year that ended in June 2016, the lowest in 12 years, largely
due to a sharp drop in global commodity prices and good farm
The government aims to hold inflation at 5.80 percent this
Early this year, the central bank kept its key policy
interest rates unchanged, citing overall macroeconomic stability
and a steady inflation outlook.
In January 2016, the central bank cut its key interest rate
by half a percentage point, for the first time in nearly three
years, as easing inflation gave it room to help spur economic
(Reporting by Ruma Paul; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)