The National Consumer Price Index (NCPI) witnessed a notable uptick, surging to 4.2% in December 2023, compared to 2.8% the previous month, according to data released by the Department of Census and Statistics. This increase is primarily attributed to a substantial rise in food prices, which recorded a significant shift from a negative 2.2% in November to a positive 1.6% in December.

Month-on-Month Changes:

The department’s report breaks down the month-on-month changes, revealing that the overall increase in the NCPI was influenced by a 1.55% surge in food items and a 0.17% decrease in non-food items.

Contributions of Food Items: 1.55%

A detailed analysis of the contributions to the NCPI on a month-on-month basis highlights the major players in this inflationary trend. Among the noteworthy increases in index values for food items were:

  • Vegetables (0.58%): Witnessing a substantial surge, vegetables played a significant role in driving up the overall food inflation.
  • Big Onions (0.32%): Big onions saw a notable increase, contributing to the overall rise in prices.
  • Green Chilies (0.26%): The cost of green chilies recorded a significant uptick, adding to the inflationary pressures.
  • Fresh Fish (0.14%): The price of fresh fish experienced a notable increase, impacting the overall food inflation rate.
  • Eggs (0.12%): Eggs witnessed a price hike, contributing to the overall inflationary trend.
  • Rice (0.06%): Rice prices edged higher, further adding to the pressures on the NCPI.
  • Chicken (0.05%): Chicken prices contributed to the overall increase in food inflation.
  • Sugar (0.05%): The cost of sugar saw an upward movement, playing a role in the rising inflation.
  • Coconuts (0.04%): The price of coconuts recorded a slight increase, impacting the overall food inflation rate.
  • Red Onions (0.04%): Red onions saw a modest uptick in prices, contributing to the inflationary pressures.
  • Potatoes (0.02%): Potatoes witnessed a slight increase in cost, adding to the overall food inflation rate.
  • Coconut Oil (0.02%): Coconut oil prices inched higher, contributing to the upward movement of the NCPI.
  • Chili Powder (0.01%): Even chili powder experienced a marginal increase in prices, further influencing the overall inflation rate.

This surge in inflation, particularly driven by the notable increase in food prices, raises concerns about the cost of living for consumers. Analysts are closely monitoring the situation as policymakers assess potential measures to mitigate the impact on households. (