HANOI, March 29 (Xinhua) -- Vietnam's consumer price index rose 4.18 percent in the first three months of the year from a year earlier on the back of higher food, housing, and education costs, according to government statistics data released on Wednesday.
Higher education expenses, up 10.13 percent in the first quarter, continued to drive up living costs and contributed the most to the annual inflation, followed by housing and construction materials prices, which increased 7.17 percent year on year, and the cost of food and food services went up 4.41 percent, the General Statistics Office (GSO) said in a statement.
Despite a drop of 11.09 percent in fuel prices, the statistics authorities said core inflation, excluding more volatile food, energy, and other public services prices, jumped 5.01 percent in the first quarter from a year earlier, the GSO said.
Consumer price index in March rose 3.35 percent from a year ago but dipped 0.23 percent from February when inflation edged up 0.45 percent month-over-month and jumped 4.31 percent year-on-year, indicating the underlying trend showed inflation might be slowing.
Inflation cooled a bit in March mainly because gasoline prices fell in line with lower global fuel prices, and drops in food and food services, driven by abundant supply, also contributed to the index, said Nguyen Thi Huong, head of the GSO.
Vietnam has set the target of keeping the overall inflation for this year at 4.5 percent.