Thailand’s inflation 2.1 percent in September

BANGKOK, Oct 1, 2007 (AFP) – Thailand’s inflation rate in September rose to 2.1 percent year-on-year due to a spike in food prices and rising fuel prices, the Commerce Ministry said Monday. Thailand’s economy is expected to grow just over four percent in 2007, ranking among the lowest in Southeast Asia. The September figure was higher than the market’s forecast of 1.8 percent as vegetable prices jumped 20 percent and oil prices grew 6.9 percent in the month, the ministry said.

It was a sharp rise from August when inflation eased to 1.1 percent year-on-year, the lowest in nearly five years, but the ministry said it would keep inflation forecast unchanged at 1.5 to 2.5 percent in 2007.

“Even oil prices rose sharply, the inflation level remained in line with our projection for the whole year,” Siriphol Yodmuangcharoen, the ministry’s permanent secretary general, told reporters.

Energy costs rose 3.6 percent year-on-year in September while rice prices increased 8.2 percent, the ministry said.

Core inflation, which excludes volatile food and energy prices, edged up 0.8 percent year-on-year in September, it said.

Charl Kengchon, a senior economist at private think tank Ka