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February consumer prices rise 3.2% yr/yr

In February, consumer prices increase by 0.4% on the previous month and 3.2% year-on-year. In comparison with January, food prices rose a negligible 0.2%, and some staples even became less expensive. The 1.5% rise in household energy prices was mostly due to a 5.3% natural gas price hike. The increase in fuel prices also exceeded the overall inflation rate, and the price of medications rose 3.9%. Among utility services, sewage fees became 6% more expensive, while garbage collection fees and water rates rose 4% and 3.1%, respectively. At the same time, the price of alcohol and tobacco products, clothes and durable goods declined. Compared with February 2004, food prices were only 1.2% higher, however the price of pork and sugar went up by a respective 18% and 16%, respectively. On the other hand, flour and eggs became significantly cheaper to buy (25% and 10%, respectively). In February, Hungarians paid an average 1.8% more for durable consumer goods than they did a year earlier, while the price of clothes rose less than 1%. The price index of other consumer goods and fuels climbed more than 2% in the 12 months to February. Services cost 5.9% more, with a 14% increase in sewage fees, tickets for local public transportation and garbage fees. Tobacco products became 16% more expensive year-on-year, while bottled gas cost 13% more than in February 2004.