HANOI - Vietnam’s inflation fell for a seventh consecutive month in March to the lowest level in a year, official figures showed Saturday.
Consumer prices rose 14 .15 percent year-on-year in March, down from 16.44 percent in February, according to preliminary data released by the Government Statistics Office.
But the inflation rate for the first quarter remained high at 15.95 percent, compared with 12.79 percent a year ago.
“It’s encouraging to see the monthly figure keeps decreasing, but it’s still too soon to be optimistic,” said a banker, who requested anonymity.
“It will be a big challenge, as the country’s leaders are too ambitious, wanting to bring down CPI at the same time as obtaining a higher economic growth rate that they have always desired,” she told AFP.
Earlier this month, the central bank slashed key interest rates for the first time in nearly three years as double digit inflation eased.
The move was welcomed by some while others warned of tough times ahead.
“Business was not that good last year, and this year the picture is still grey as several enterprises will really fall into insolvency.
The government should be ready to cope with a very difficult economic situation ahead,” the banker added.
Last year, the communist nation’s runaway inflation was among the world’s highest, peaking at 23 percent in August.
Vietnam’s economic growth slowed to 5.9 percent in 2011, falling just short of the government’s target of six percent. This year, the government is targeting GDP growth of 6.0 to 6.5 percent and single-digit inflation .