Inflation last month edged up dangerously close to the ceiling set by the government for this fiscal year thanks to a rise in food prices.
In March, inflation stood at 5.55 percent, up 7 basis points from a month earlier, according to data from the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics, which was unveiled yesterday by Planning Minister MA Mannan.
The government had targeted to keep inflation within 5.6 percent in fiscal 2018-19.
Last month, food inflation was 5.72 percent, up from 5.44 percent in February. However, it was offset by a decline in non-food inflation: it shed 22 basis points during the course of the month and stood at 5.29 percent.
Rice prices may have increased in March with the impact of Aman harvests well over and Boro still in the field, said Zahid Hussain, lead economist of the World Bank's Dhaka office.
“With winter behind us, vegetable prices may also have increased.”
The decline in non-food inflation though reflects a weakening of demand.
Reasonably well-functioning supply chains in March meant that the impact of cost-push on non-food prices resulting from transport disruptions earlier in October-November period petered out and led to stable transport fares as well.
Hussain went on to tip that inflation will remain within the government's target this fiscal year. “The time has therefore come to be a bit more ambitious and lower the target to 5 percent or less for fiscal 2019-20,” he added.