Tuesday, January 23 2018 14:48
Naira Badalian

The Armenian parliament started hearings in connection with the growth of prices: the authorities adhere to the previous version on inflation

The Armenian parliament started hearings in connection with the growth of prices: the authorities adhere to the previous version on inflation

ArmInfo. Chairman of the National Statistical Service of Armenia Stepan Mnatsakanyan, referring to the statistical data, assures that in January-December of 2017 inflation was 2.6%, after two years of deflation in 2016 at the level of 1.1% and 0.6% in 2015 . Today, in the National Assembly of Armenia, in connection with a significant increase in prices for certain types of goods, representatives of state structures and public organizations participated.

Opening the hearing, the chairman of the parliamentary commission on economic issues Khosrov Harutyunyan immediately stopped attempts of all those who hoped to ask questions to the head of the National Statistical Service and understand calculation methodology and reasons for the discrepancy in inflation data  with the expectations of ordinary citizens. As stated by Harutyunyan, the head of the Service will deliver a message, not a report, so this format does not involve debates with Mnatsakanyan.

In response, the head of the Yelq faction, Nikol Pashinyan, urged not to take away from the head of the National Service his precious time. "If so, Mr. Mnatsakanyan can go about his business," he said, noting that the stumbling blocks were the stumbling block for the discussions that started. The secretary of the "Tsarukyan" faction Vahe Enfiadjian, in his turn, noted: "We consider the commencement of hearings with such formulations unacceptable, we should have an opportunity for open discussion." In fact, the purpose of these discussions is precisely this, otherwise it is unreasonable. " The vice speaker Eduard Sharmazanov concluded the controversy, saying that they had not gathered to "throw dust in the face" and all heads of departments would answer all the questions of interest.

So, as Stepan Mnatsakanyan stated in his message, on January 10 the Service summed up the data on the consumer price index for goods and services for 2017. Data for January 2018 will be presented only on February 5 this year. According to the data, in December compared to November, the consumer price index was 101.5%, recording a price increase of 1.5%. Inflation in January-December of 2017 was 2.6%. This was mostly caused by an increase in prices of food products (including alcohol and cigarettes) by 5.3% and non-food products by 1.7%, while tariffs for services decreased by 0.5%. The average monthly increase in consumer prices in January-December 2017 was 0.2%, against a decline of 0.1% a year earlier.

On an annual basis (January-December 2017 to January-December 2016), the consumer market also recorded inflation of 1% (against deflation of 1.4% a year ago), which was due to a rise in price of food products by 4% (against a 3% decline in the year earlier), with a reduction in the price of non-food products by 1.8% (against a decline of 2.5% a year earlier) and a 1.3% decrease in service tariffs (against a 1.8% increase a year earlier). Only in December 2017, the consumption grew by 1.5%, mainly due to a 3.2% rise in the price of foodstuffs, while the prices of non-food products grew by 0.1% and a similar increase in tariffs for services. In Yerevan, consumer prices rose by 1.2% in December 2017.  According to statistics, December inflation in the food market (3.6%, excluding alcohol and cigarettes) is due mainly to the rise in price of fruits and vegetables by 25.1% and 4.3% respectively (with annual growth - December 2017 to December 2016 - by 8.2% and 0.9%). In Yerevan, vegetables grew in price by 21.9% in December, and fruits - by 4.1%. In total, vegetables and fruits increased in price in December 2017 by 17.2%, and this group of products, having a specific weight of 8.58% in consumer demand, had a growing impact on inflation of 1.48 percentage points. Dairy products, cheese and eggs have risen in price by an annual 7%, but only in December - by 2.6% mainly due to the increase in the price of eggs by 7.3% (in October-December, eggs went up by 19% ,4%). In the capital, this group of products went up by 2.4%.  Meat products in the annual section went up by 11%, but only in December - by 1.3%, and in Yerevan - by 0.8%. Fish and fish products rose in price by 24.8% on an annual basis, and in December they fell by 0.3%, while in the capital their price went down by 0.7%.

Sugar and granulated sugar fell in annual terms by 6%, but only in December - by 0.5%, incl. in the capital - by 0.3%. In December, tea, coffee, cocoa, soft drinks - by 0.5%, bakery products and cereals - by 0.4%, butter and fats - by 0.2% also fell in price.

In the group of non-food products, gasoline and diesel fuel in December grew by 1.6% and 1.8%, respectively, with an annual increase of 18.2-18.9%. In the capital, non-food items fell 0.2%.

As for tariffs for services, their growth in December 2017 by 0.1% was mainly due to a rise in price of hotel services - by 1.3%, services in the sphere of culture and recreation - by 1.2%, and housing and communal services services - by 0,2%. At the same time, services in the transport sector fell in price, by 0.5% due to the decrease in prices for international flights by 1%, and in the spheres of health, communication and education, the tariffs for services for December were not changed. In the capital, tariffs for services increased by 0.1% in December. At the end of the message, Stepan Mnatsakanyan called on those doubting the given data to believe in their reliability. As he noted, the methodology of construction and calculation of the consumer price index was introduced by experts of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and therefore there is no reason for any doubts.

It should be noted that according to the state budget for 2017, 12-month inflation in Armenia is planned at 4% (+ 1.5%).

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