Hungary CPI slows to 5.5% in March
Consumer prices in Hungary rose 5.5% yr/yr in March, slowing from a sharp rise of 5.9% yr/yr in February, the Central Statistics Office (KSH) said on Wednesday.
Consumer prices rose 0.8% in March, at the same monthly pace as in February.
London emerging-market analysts forecast the twelve-month rate between 5.4-5.6% on Tuesday. Analysts polled by the business daily Napi Gazdaság put twelve-month inflation at 5.7% and the monthly rate at 0.9%.
January-March inflation came to 5.6%, compared to last year's annual average inflation of 3.9%. Tax changes, including excise-tax increases and a 2%-point rise in the main VAT rate, rising fuel prices and the weakening forint pushed the twelve-month CPI up from 4.1% in December to 5.5% in January and 5.9% in February.
Excluding the effect of tax changes, March inflation would have been 0.6% mo/mo and 3.4% yr/yr, both down from 0.7% and 3.9%, respectively, in February.
Seasonally-adjusted core inflation fell both on the month--to 0.5% in March from 0.6% in February--and on the year--to 5.0% from 5.4%.
The monthly rise of food prices slowed to 0.8% from 1.7 % m/m in February, although seasonal foodstuff prices rose 4.1% in a month. Clothing and footwear prices were up 0.9% m/m in March after dropping on winter sales in the previous two months. Consumer durables became 0.3% cheaper after a 0.1% m/m increase in February as the forint recovered part of its sharp weakening early this year. Household energy prices went up 0.2% from February after a 2.7% m/m monthly increase, and services prices were up 0.2% after a plus of 0.3% in February.
The largest monthly rise, of 3.0%, was registered with alcoholic beverages and tobacco after a 0.9% rise in the previous month. Vehicle fuel and lubricant prices followed with a 2.4% increase following a 0.5% drop m/m in February.
Food prices were up 4.9% in the twelve months to March, at the slowest twelve-month pace since December, and rising below the headline index for the first time in many months. A 12.5% yr/yr drop in seasonal foodstuff prices, a 15.5% drop in the price of flour and a 9% drop in the price of sugar tempered sharp rises elsewhere, including a 43.1% rise in egg prices or a 30.5% rise in the price of fat.
In a twelve-month comparison vehicle fuels and lubricants were up the most, by 16.4%, rising still slightly less yr/yr than January and February, followed by alcoholic beverages and tobacco, whose prices rose 10.8% yr/yr in March. Household energy prices continued to rise at an above average rate, of 8.6%, including a 11.9% rise in district heating and a 11.7% in bottled price prices.
Services prices were up 4.1% yr/yr, less than the 4.5% increase in February and consumer durables were 1.4% cheaper than in March 2011, about the same as in the previous months. Clothing and footwear prices were up 3.6% yr/yr after a 4.8% rise in February.
EU harmonized inflation (HICP) in Hungary was 0.8% a month and 5.5% yr/yr in February compared to 0.6% m/m and 5.8% yr/yr in February.
Prices in pensioners' basket of goods went up at a slightly-below-average 0.7% a month and with the average 5.5% on the year. The rises were down from 1.1% m/m and 6.0% yr/yr in February.
SUPPORT THE BUDAPEST BUSINESS JOURNAL
Producing journalism that is worthy of the name is a costly business. For 27 years, the publishers, editors and reporters of the Budapest Business Journal have striven to bring you business news that works, information that you can trust, that is factual, accurate and presented without fear or favor.
Newspaper organizations across the globe have struggled to find a business model that allows them to continue to excel, without compromising their ability to perform. Most recently, some have experimented with the idea of involving their most important stakeholders, their readers.
We would like to offer that same opportunity to our readers. We would like to invite you to help us deliver the quality business journalism you require. Hit our Support the BBJ button and you can choose the how much and how often you send us your contributions.