August 22, 2017
Annual inflation in Nepal has declined to a 12-year low of 4.5 percent in fiscal year 2016-17 due to a moderate rise in costs of food and non-food items.
The inflation figure is lower than the Nepal Rastra Bank’s (NRB) estimate of 7.5 percent. This is the third time NRB had beaten its own inflation target inflation ever since it launched annual monetary policy in 2002-03. Prior to this, it was in 2003-04 and 2006-07.
The latest Macroeconomic Report of the Nepal Rastra Bank (NRB) informed that annual inflation of the previous fiscal year that ended on July 2017 is the lowest since 2004-05.
According to the report, consumer prices grew at a much slower pace than estimated in 2016-17 benefited by base prices of the fiscal year 2015-16, lower global commodity prices and improved supply situation.
However, there exists uncertainty on whether the inflation would continue to be moderate because of the recent floods that have damaged Rs 8.11 billion worth crops across 31 districts of the country.
As per the Ministry of Agriculture and Development (MoAD), the floods have so far damaged paddy Rs 3.18 billion, vegetables (Rs 2.96 billion), pulses (Rs 536 million), fishes (Rs 800 million), turmeric (Rs 340 million) and maize (Rs 241 million).
However, MoAD is is yet to calculate the total loss caused by floods, which is likely to boost country’s import volume thus triggering inflationary pressure.
Floods in Tarai Hike Vegetable Prices
Shortage of supply due to recent floods in Tarai resulted in skyrocketing of vegetable prices in the Kathmandu Valley.
Due to floods, vegetable supply in the Valley’s market has declined by almost 200 tonnes per day.
Recent floods in Nepal have affected more than 16,474 hectares of vegetable farmlands in Tarai districts wiping out vegetables worth Rs 3 billion, which resulted in fall of supply volume.
According to a local Kanchan Poudel, even Rs 500 seems insufficient to buy vegetables for a day.
“Majority of ready-to-harvest vegetables in Tarai farmlands were swept away by the floods, which has largely affected the supply,” said Binaya Shrestha, Information Officer at Kalimati Fruits and Vegetable Market Development Board (KFVMDB).
According to KFVMDB officials, increased transportation costs for traders, due to landslide-affected routes, is also a reason behind the rise of vegetable prices.