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UPDATE - Hungary consumer prices climb 3.6% in August, more than expected

Consumer prices in Hungary climbed 3.6% in the twelve months to August, up from a 3.1% increase in July, boosted by food, vehicle fuel and household energy prices, the Central Statistics Office (KSH) said on Tuesday.

August consumer prices still dropped 0.1% in a month due to lower seasonal food and consumer durable prices, summer sales and unchanged household energy prices. The monthly decline was the third in a row after 0.3% month-on-month declines both in June and July.

The average forecast of analysts in London for the August twelve-month CPI was 3.34%, and analysts polled by the financial daily Napi Gazdaság had put the headline figure at 3.4%.

Seasonally-adjusted core inflation, which excludes volatile fuel and food prices, slowed to 3.1% yr/yr from 3.2% in July. Month-on-month core inflation also slowed to 0.2% from 0.3%.

Excluding tax changes, prices were up 3.5% in the twelve months to August as compared to a 3.0% increase in July, and were down 0.1% from the previous month after a 0.3% drop in July.

CPI for pensioners was 4.0% yr/yr after 3.4% in July, again exceeding the headline index. Prices for pensioners fell, however, steeper on the month, by 0.3% after dropping 0.4% in July.

The twelve-month CPI was boosted by food prices which rose 6.3% in one year despite 12.2% lower seasonal food prices. Flour prices rose the most, by 57%, followed by sugar (46.3%) and edible oil (28.0%). The price of bread went up 13.8% and that of milk by 13.2%.

August food prices dropped, however, a steep 1.1% month-on-month as seasonal foodstuff prices fell 11.6% and other food prices rose 0.2% from July.

Vehicle fuel prices were up 2.4% from July and were 13.6% yr/yr higher than in August 2010.

Household energy prices were unchanged from July but rose 4.8% yr/yr, including a 19.3% in the price of bottled gas, a 5.8% rise in distant heating and a 2.5% rise in pipeline gas prices.

End-of-summer sales pushed clothing prices down 2.6% from July but they were still 3.8% higher than a year earlier.

Alcohol and tobacco product prices rose 0.5% in August from July but were still 0.1% cheaper than in August 2010.

The price of services rose 0.3% from July boosted by a 3% rise in the price of recreation services. Services prices rose still well below the average rate, by 2.0% yr/yr, including 10.1% higher sewage fees, a 5.4% rise in waste collection fees and 4.3% higher water fees.

August consumer durable prices were down 0.3% in a month and dropped 1.3% yr/yr.