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Phuket’s inflation 10% higher than country



PHUKET: The island continues to outpace most of the rest of the country in terms of inflation, with the cost of living in Phuket during the first six months of the year, growing at a rate 10% faster than Thailand overall.

Meanwhile, headline (overall) inflation in the Kingdom’s two main cities in the North and Northeast was more than 40% higher than the national average.

As measured by the average Consumer Price Index (CPI), Thailand’s cost of living in the first six months of 2013 rose by 2.7% over the same period last year, while overall inflation in Phuket was measured at 3.1% during the same period, compared to 6.3% in Chiang Mai and 5.9% in Khon Kaen.

The Phuket Commerce Office, in collaboration with the Phuket provincial government and the Commerce Ministry’s Information Office and Bureau of Trade and Economic Indices, recently published the province’s Consumer Price Index (CPI-P) analysis for the first half of the year.

It should also be noted that this year, the Kingdom’s central indices office changed its base year – the year used to compare current consumer prices to – from 2007 to 2011.

Prior to such change, from 2007 to 2012, overall inflation in Thailand was measured at about 16%, compared to Phuket, which had a 5-year inflation rate of 26%.

In other words, during the period, the cost of living in Phuket rose about 60% quicker than Thailand as a whole.

Compared with the national CPI report, which now surveys 450 items (previously, 407), the CPI-P survey for Phuket covers only 238 consumer goods and services.

Both lists cover expense trends for everything from food, beverages, apparel, housing and personal health-care, to vehicles, transport, communications, entertainment, media, education, religion, tobacco and alcohol.

Phuket’s average year-on-year inflation of 3% during the first six months is highlighted by an average 3.2% price increase for food and [non-alcoholic] beverage items (F&B), namely fruits and vegetables (5.2%), out-of-home consumer foods (4.7%); in-home consumer foods (2.4%) dairy and egg products (3.6%); meat, poultry and seafood items (3.5%); food condiments (1.5%) and rice, flour and flour products (0.2%).

Meanwhile non F&B items on the island inflated by 2.5%, highlighted by consumer goods price and expense rises in alcohol and tobacco (7.8%); clothing apparel and footwear (6%); packaging, transport and communications (2.7%); housing (1.8%); and personal health care (1.4%).

Consumer expenses and prices for items or services categorized as entertainment, reading, education and/or religion, inflated in Phuket by only 0.7%.

A change from the usual, Phuket has not had the highest inflation rate in the country so far this year, with the economies of major cities in the North and Northeast this year being affected by a number of economic stimulus initiatives and schemes.

Among the most controversial of these is the government-sponsored rice pledging scheme.

Keep checking the Gazette’s business pages for the latest local and national business news updates affecting Phuket and Thailand. Alternatively, join our Facebook fan page or follow us on Twitter.

— Steven Layne


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