Goods prices advanced 1.6 percent year-on-year in March (vs 1.7 percent in February), as food prices rose at a softer pace while energy inflation accelerated. Gains were also recorded for other goods such as: tobacco products (4.4 percent); printed matter and stationery and drawing materials (3.3 percent), including newspapers and magazines (4.8 percent); and vehicles (2.5 percent), including new cars (3 percent). Meanwhile, lower prices were recorded for consumer electronics (-5.9 percent) and telephones (-5.6 percent).
Cost of food increased 0.7 percent in March, slowing from a 1.4 percent rise in February. A sharp increase in prices of vegetable prices (8 percent), such as potatoes (35.6 percent), fish and fish products (2.6 percent) and for bread and cereals (2.3 percent) was almost offset by the strong decline in fruit prices (-7.1 percent), including apples (-20.9 percent), as well as dairy products and eggs costs (-1.8 percent).
Energy prices advanced 4.2 percent (vs 2.9 percent in February), boosted by heating oil (13.5 percent), district heating (5 percent), motor fuels (3.7 percent), electricity (2.9 percent), and natural gas (2.7 percent).
Services inflation declined to 1.2 percent from 1.4 percent, with the cost of rents advancing by 1.4 percent, the same as in the prior month. Additional upward pressure came from: services of social facilities (4.6 percent); maintenance and repair of vehicles (4.1 percent); and catering services in restaurants, cafes and the like (2.4 percent). Meantime, consumers paid less for package holidays (-6.4 percent).
On a monthly basis, the consumer price index went up 0.4 percent in March, the same pace as in February. Package holiday prices were markedly up (7.8 percent), as well as costs for footwear (3.7 percent), clothing (3.0 percent). In addition, energy prices rose 0.6 percent, led by motor fuels (1.5 percent) and heating oil (0.5 percent). On the other hand, food prices decreased 0.6 percent, in particular vegetable prices (-3.8 percent) and edible oils and fats (-1.9 percent).
The harmonised index of consumer prices rose 1.4 percent from the previous year (vs 1.7 percent in February); and 0.5 percent month-over-month (vs 0.5 percent in February).