BANGKOK: Thailand's headline inflation rate slowed in July for the first time this year, helped by government support measures, but the pace was still near a 14-year high, reinforcing a view of an interest rate hike next week.
The headline consumer price index (CPI) rose 7.61% in July, driven by high energy prices, commerce ministry data showed on Friday, and missed a rise of 7.8% forecast in a Reuters poll.
The pace, though a hair lower than June's 7.66% increase, was near the highest since 2008.
Despite high energy prices, government controls on goods prices and support measures for low-income earners, as well as a base effect helped slow the rise in inflation, ministry official Ronnarong Phoolpipat told a news conference.,
The ministry expects headline inflation to average at 5.5% to 6.5% this year, in line with other state agencies' predictions, he said.
The Bank of Thailand predicts headline inflation of 6.2% this year, well above its target range of 1% to 3%.
The BOT is expected to start raising its benchmark interest rate from a record of 0.50% at its next meeting on Aug. 10 to contain inflation. The rate has been left unchanged since May, 2020.
In July, the core CPI index, which strips out energy and fresh food prices, rose 2.99% from a year earlier, higher than a forecast 2.6% rise, and faster than June's 2.51%.
In the January-July period, headline inflation was 5.89% and the core rate was 2.01%. - Reuters