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Costlier services drive January inflation

Consumer prices rose 0.7% in January on the previous month, while year-on-year inflation was 4.1%, the Central Statistics Office (KSH) reported. KSH registered 3.8% core inflation on January 2004. At 6.5%, the consumer price of services rose above the inflation rate with a 17% hike in sewerage fees and a 14% increase in city public transport and waste collection rates year-on-year. Tobacco products became 19% more expensive, while electricity and natural gas cost 12% more than a year earlier. Responding to the news, the National Bank of Hungary (MNB) said the decreasing inflation figures signaled that Hungary would soon reach price stability and meet the inflation criteria of Euro zone accession, which MNB regards as the greatest results of the consistent monetary policy it has been following for several years now.