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Hungary’s CPI slows further to 3.0% in February

Twelve-month consumer price inflation slowed to 3.0% in February from 3.15 in January 2009, Hungary’s Central Statistical Office (KSH) said.

Consumer prices rose 1.0% in February from January.

Analysts put February twelve-month CPI to 2.8%.

Both month-on-month and twelve-month seasonally adjusted core inflation slipped 0.1% point further to 0.2% month-on-month and 3.3% yr/yr.

The month-on-month price increase was driven by seasonal foods, car fuels and electricity price increases. Seasonal foods pushed food prices up 1.0% last month from January, while the increase in food prices excluding seasonal foods was just 0.1%. Car fuel prices rose 7.6% in a month, though it was still 13.6% cheaper than a year earlier. Household energy prices rose 1.1% in February alone as the cost of electricity jumped 2.8% from the previous month. Clothing goods were 1.8% cheaper than in January and service prices rose a lower-than-average 0.6% in spite of a 4.8% and 4.6% monthly hike in water supply and sewage fees, respectively. At the same time, telephone tariffs fell 0.3% and local transport fares rose a slight 0.4% in a month.

Twelve-month consumer price inflation continued to be driven by a 10.8% hike in household energy costs, accelerating prices for food, drinks and tobacco, while clothing prices fell a slight 0.1% from a year earlier. Prices for durable consumer goods rose just 0.1% yr/yr in February.

The household energy price increase was boosted by a 22.6% rise in gas prices and a 21.6% hike in coal prices, while electricity tariffs rose just 2.8% in a year to February.

The rise in food prices stemmed from a 9.0% average rise in meat prices, including a 15.5% hike in pork prices. Milk and cheese prices, however, fell 4.5% and 10.0% respectively, though prices for other dairy products rose 3.0% yr/yr. Prices for vegetables rose 4.9% from a year earlier, though potato prices were 14.7% lower and prices for domestic and tropical fruits fell 15.7 in a year to February.

The twelve-month service price increase of 3.0% was equal to the headline CPI, though home-related service prices increased 6.2%, local transport fares rose 6.7% and postal service fees were up 6.8%. Health-service prices, on the other hand, fell 15.5% and telephone and internet subscription fees slid 1.1% from a year earlier. (MTI – Econews)