The National Bank of Tajikistan (NBT) predicts further food price hike under the pressure on the exchange rate of the national currency, the somoni, against the dollar (USD).
Tajik central bank forecasts that prices for imported food products will begin to rise starting from the second quarter (April-June).
The NBT specialists say negative inflation expectations result from the exchange rate factors.
According to the NBT, Tajikistan’s inflation for the first three months of this year has stood at 3.1%, which was 1% higher than in the same period last year.
Last month, inflation reportedly stood at 1.5%, which was 1.3% higher compared to March 2016. In March 2016, inflation in Tajikistan stood at 0.2% and inflation for the first three months of last year stood at only 2.1%.
The annual inflation rate for the period from March 2016 to March 2017 was 7.3%, up by 1.7 % YoY.
The year-end inflation for 2016 stood at 6.1%, down by 0.9 % from the forecast. An average monthly inflation rate last year was 0.5%. In 2016, the highest inflation rate was reported in January – 1.4%. The lowest inflation rate last year was reported in March, May and October – 0.2%.
The government plans to curb the year-end inflation for this year at 7%. For this, Tajik central bank plans to use the following instruments: open-market transactions; refinance transactions; mandatory reserve normatives; interbank market foreign currency transactions; etc.
Meanwhile, EurasiaNet.org says prices for basic food products are continuing to rise in Tajikistan and the trend for price rises is stark.
If 1 kg of beef cost 32 somoni ($3.8) a month ago, now it costs 40 somoni. A 50-kg sack of sugar has gone up from 320 to 375 somoni. Potatoes by the kg have increased from 2.6 somoni to 5 somoni. A kg of carrots cost 1.2 somoni, now the price has doubled to 2.5 somoni.
Fluctuations in prices for groceries are, on one hand, a seasonal trend contingent on the availability of particular goods, but this particular surge is also linked to performance of the national currency, the somoni. At the start of the year, the somoni was trading around 7.9 to the dollar, but had risen to 8.5 somoni by mid-April.
The external support many people could normally count upon has weakened. While in 2013, Tajik labor migrants based in Russia sent home around $4 billion, that figure had dropped to $2 billion by 2016. (News.tj/Business World Magazine)
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