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Hungary consumer price increase slows to 4.1% in December

Consumer prices in Hungary rose 4.1% year-on-year in December, slowing from a 4.3% increase in November, the Central Statistics Office (KSH) said on Friday.

December twelve-month inflation was boosted by food and fuel prices but services and consumer durable prices tempered the increase.

The headline figure was in line with Hungarian analysts’ 4.1% estimate. Emerging market analysts in London had put December CPI at 4.4%.

Annual average inflation reached 3.9% in 2011, it fell from 4.9% in 2010.

Consumer prices rose a seasonally adjusted 0.2% from November, after monthly rises of 0.7% both in October and November and declining prices between June and September.

Month-on-month inflation was mainly boosted by a 1.3% rise in beverage and tobacco prices, lifted by an excise duty rise already in November. Food prices, household energy and clothing prices all rose by a less-than-average 0.1%, and vehicle fuel prices fell 0.6% from November.

Seasonally-adjusted core inflation, which excludes volatile fuel and food prices, accelerated to 3.3% yr/yr from 3.1% in November. Month-on-month core inflation also picked up, to 0.4% from 0.3%.

Excluding tax changes, December prices were up 3.3% in twelve months after rising 3.7% yr/yr in November and were up 0.1% from the previous month after a 0.2% increase in November.

The harmonised consumer price index (HICP), used for EU comparisons, slowed sharply on the month from 0.6% to 0.2% and slowed to 4.1% yr/yr from 4.3%.

The CPI for pensioners slowed to 4.3% yr/yr from 4.4% yr/yr in November, again exceeding the headline index. Prices for pensioners rose 0.3% on the month in December after a 0.7% rise in November.

2011 inflation was mainly boosted by higher food prices, which rose 6.6% last year, more than double their increase in 2010. The second biggest rise was a 6.2% rise in the category of other products, which includes fuels, followed by 5.7% higher household energy prices.

Last year the price of services went up just 2.2%, by about the half of their 2010 increase, beverage and tobacco prices hardly rose, by only 0.5% following a sharp 8.2% rise in the previous year, and consumer durable prices fell 1.4% following a 0.2% increase in 2010. Clothing and footware prices rose 2.9%.

Annual core inflation totalled 2.8% in 2011, well under the headline index.

The 2011 HICP index was 3.9%.

Excluding tax changes, consumer prices rose 3.8%, slightly below the headline index last year, and prices for pensioners rose above average inflation, by 4.4% in 2011.