Prices rose at a softer pace for: services (0.6 percent vs 0.9 percent in February), led by slowing cost growth of other services (1.4 percent vs 1.7 percent) and declines in prices of communication (-3.3 percent vs -3.1 percent), transport (-0.9 percent vs -0.5 percent) and health services (-0.2 percent vs 0.1 percent); food (2.5 percent vs 3.1 percent) due to fresh food (4.2 percent vs 8.3 percent); and tobacco (8.1 percent vs 14 percent). In addition, manufactured products continued to fall (-0.6 percent vs -0.5 percent) on the back of lower costs of medical products (-2.7 percent vs -3 percent), clothing and footwear (-0.3 percent vs 0.8 percent) and other manufactured products (-0.1 percent vs -0.2 percent).
Energy inflation, however, accelerated to 5.1 percent from 3.2 percent in the previous month, boosted by petroleum cost (6 percent vs 3.2 percent).
Annual core inflation, which excludes public sector prices, the most volatile consumer prices and the tax measures, eased to 0.5 percent in March from 0.7 percent in February.
On a monthly basis, consumer prices surged 0.8 percent in March after being unchanged in February. The rebound in manufactured product prices (2.1 percent vs -0.4 percent) and the increase in those of services (0.2 percent vs unchanged) and tobacco (7.3 percent vs unchanged) were slightly attenuated by a slowdown in energy prices (1.1 percent vs 1.3 percent) and a downturn in food prices (-0.2 percent vs 0.2 percent).
The harmonised index of consumer prices rose by 1.3 percent from the previous year (vs 1.6 percent in February) and by 0.9 percent month-over-month (vs 0.1 percent in February).