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Finance minister sees 2006 inflation remaining subdued

Hungarian inflation next year will not accelerate from earlier forecasts as rising competition among companies and retailers counters soaring fuel prices, Finance
Minister János Veres said in an interview on state television MTV. European Union leaders expect inflation to pick up by 0.1-0.2 percentage points due to record high crude costs, according to Veres. He reiterated the government's 2% forecast for average inflation next year. ``In Hungary, market conditions and competition prevent attempts to raise prices without limits,'' Veres told the channel. Veres said Hungary will bring forward value-added tax reductions on fuel products from Jan. 1 to Oct. 1 even as European Union regulators said the plan would violate the bloc's rules. The tax reduction will cut tax receipts by Ft 6.2 billion ($30.9 million) between October and December.