…𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝑵𝒈𝒖𝒍𝒕𝒓𝒖𝒎’𝒔 𝒑𝒖𝒓𝒄𝒉𝒂𝒔𝒊𝒏𝒈 𝒑𝒐𝒘𝒆𝒓, 𝒂𝒔 𝒎𝒆𝒂𝒔𝒖𝒓𝒆𝒅 𝒃𝒚 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝑪𝑷𝑰, 𝒊𝒔 𝑵𝒖. 57 𝒊𝒏 𝑺𝒆𝒑𝒕𝒆𝒎𝒃𝒆𝒓 2023, 𝒄𝒐𝒎𝒑𝒂𝒓𝒆𝒅 𝒕𝒐 𝑫𝒆𝒄𝒆𝒎𝒃𝒆𝒓 2012
In a recent report by the National Statistics Bureau, Bhutan experienced a significant year-on-year surge in the Consumer Price Index (CPI) in September 2023, rising by 5.03 percent compared to the same period the previous year, according to the latest report. The data reveals an overall increase in prices, with food and non-food items experiencing a rise of 6.05 percent and 4.18 percent, respectively. Notably, all major divisions, except for transport, encountered price hikes, indicating a concerning trend in the country’s economic landscape.
Breaking down the specifics, the report discloses that food prices climbed by 6.08 percent, while alcoholic beverages and betel nuts saw a 5.64 percent increase. Conversely, the cost of transport witnessed a decrease of 1.30 percent, providing slight relief amidst the overall price surge.
On a monthly basis, the CPI in September 2023 exhibited a 0.59 percent increase from August 2023. Interestingly, this rise is characterized by a 0.15 percent decrease in food prices, contrasted by a 1.22 percent surge in non-food prices. Furthermore, transport costs spiked by 3.68 percent, while alcoholic beverages and betel nuts experienced a minor decrease of 0.12 percent.
Analyzing the broader economic context, the report highlights a 5.64 percent increase in household goods and services prices from 2021 to 2022. However, this represents a decrease of 1.71 percentage points compared to the 7.35 percent rise recorded in 2021. The moderation in the inflation rate in 2022 is attributed to a comparatively lower increase in food prices at 3.95 percent, in stark contrast to the 9.38 percent surge observed in 2021.
Furthermore, food prices played a pivotal role in shaping the inflation landscape, contributing to approximately 34 percent of the overall inflation rate in 2022, with non-food items accounting for the remaining 66 percent. In 2021, food prices had a more substantial impact, contributing nearly 60 percent to the total inflation increase.
Among the major divisions, transport recorded the highest increase at 12.59 percent in 2022, while alcoholic beverages and betel nuts recorded the lowest rise at 1.16 percent. Notably, communication was the only division that experienced a decline, dropping by 1.46 percent.
In terms of the Ngultrum’s purchasing power, the CPI measures its value at Nu. 57 as of September 2023, compared to prices in December 2012. This indicates that Nu. 100 in September 2023 is equivalent to only Nu. 57 in December 2012, showcasing a significant erosion in purchasing power. The report further highlights a 4.79 percent decrease in the Purchasing Power of Ngultrum as measured by CPI in the past year, from September 2022 to September 2023, primarily due to the economy-wide price hikes.”