© Reuters. FILE PHOTO-Shoppers crowd at a market in Lagankhel, one of the busiest market in the country, during “Dashain”, the biggest religious festival of Hindus, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Lalitpur, Nepal, October 8, 2021. REUTERS/Navesh
By Gopal Sharma
KATHMANDU (Reuters) – Nepal’s inflation eased to 7.38% in the month to mid-December, the lowest in about eight months, as prices of food and beverages dipped, official data showed on Friday.
Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal has vowed to tame inflation, control rising interest rates and boost economic growth since taking office last month as the head of a seven-party coalition.
Data from the Nepal Rastra Bank (NRB) showed overall inflation in the month to mid-December was lower than the previous month’s 8.08% but higher than 7.11% in the same period a year earlier.
Food and beverage inflation fell to 5.85% from 7.38% the previous month. Non-food and service inflation eased only slightly to 8.59% from 8.63% the previous month.
Other NRB data showed remittances from about five million Nepalis working mainly in the Middle East, Malaysia and Korea jumped 13.1% to $3.71 billion.
Nepal’s economy, dependent on remittances, aid and tourism, saw its earnings from tourism jump 64.0% as of mid-December as tourists returned to the Himalayan nation, home to eight of the world’s 14 highest mountains including Mount Everest.
The country’s total foreign exchange reserves rose 3% in mid-December to $9.82 billion – enough to cover 8.7 months of imports – from mid-July levels, central bank data showed. Nepal’s financial year runs from mid-July to mid-July.