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Estonian Feb inflation edges up to 11.3% y/y

Costs for food, fuel and housing pushed up Estonia’s rate of inflation to 11.3% year-on-year in February, the highest since April 1998’s 12.6%, the statistics office said on Friday.

The February monthly rise in prices of 0.4% compared with a 2.2% gain in January. A survey of three analysts had produced a median forecast of 11.4% for the annual change in February after 11.0% in January. “The index was mainly influenced by an increase in the prices of food, an increase in expenditure on housing and an increase in the price of motor fuel,” the office said in a statement. The monthly rate was mainly influenced by food prices, alcoholic beverages, health services, eating out, and fruits, as well as by a decrease in the price of motor fuel. In the year, food prices rose 17.1%, housing costs were up 15.2%, catering services from restaurants and cafes rose 15.8% and transport costs were up 14.0%, the office said.

Estonia increased state excise duties on heating costs during 2007 and on fuel from January 1 2008, and this, with the global rise in food and energy prices has kept a strong inflationary pressure. The central bank and Finance Ministry both say price growth is expected to slow in the second half of 2008. (Reuters)