Health prices, which account for 15 percent of the CPI, rose 0.3 percent year-on-year in March, the first annual gain since September 2011, following a 0.1 percent decline in the previous month. Additional upward pressure came from: housing and energy (0.8 percent vs 0.7 percent); transportation (1.3 percent vs 0.7 percent); restaurants and hotels (0.5 percent vs 0.4 percent); and recreation and culture (0.2 percent vs -0.2 percent). Meanwhile, inflation slowed for both food and non-alcoholic beverages (1.0 percent vs 1.5 percent) and miscellaneous goods and services (0.3 percent vs 0.4 percent).
Annual core inflation, which strips out volatile price components like food, beverages, tobacco, seasonal products, energy and fuel, inched up to 0.5 percent in March from 0.4 percent in the prior month.
On a monthly basis, consumer prices rose 0.5 percent in March, accelerating from a 0.4 percent rise in February and beating market consensus of 0.4 percent, mainly due to the increase in air fares as well as prices for international package tours. On the other hand, vegetables and berries prices fell.