October 17, 2017 / 12:18 PM / 10 months ago

REFILE-UPDATE 1-Bangladesh Sept inflation hits 6.12 pct, highest since October 2015

(Refiles to insert dropped month in headline)

DHAKA, Oct 17 (Reuters) - Bangladesh’s annual inflation climbed to 6.12 percent in September, its highest since October 2015, fuelled by soaring food prices, data showed on Tuesday.

Food inflation jumped to 7.87 percent in September year on year from 7.32 percent in August, while non-food inflation edged down to 3.44 percent from 3.75 percent, the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics said.

Annual inflation hit 5.86 percent in the quarter from July to September, up from 5.43 percent in the corresponding period the previous year, the planning minister, Mustafa Kamal, told a news conference while unveiling the data.

Food inflation has accelerated mainly due to a surge in the price of rice, the staple food of the population of 160 million. Higher prices of meat, vegetables, milk and other items also contributed.

The government has started bulk rice imports for the first time since 2011, to combat record prices after floods hit domestic output amid dwindling state reserves.

In August, Bangladesh cut a duty on rice imports for the second time in two months. But domestic prices hardly budged, posing a problem for the government, which faces a national election next year.

The central bank left key interest rates unchanged in July, saying it was trying to balance economic growth and inflation risks.

Bangladesh’s inflation eased to 5.44 percent in the financial year that ended in June, as non-food prices rose at a slower pace but food prices climbed to a two-year high. (Reporting by Ruma Paul; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)

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