Inflation slows down as healthcare costs decline

Greece?s inflation rate declined in January, helped by falling costs for healthcare and household appliances and a slower rate of increase in food prices.

The inflation rate, calculated using a harmonized European Union method, slowed to 2.1 percent from a year earlier, compared with 2.2 percent in December, the Athens-based Hellenic Statistical Authority (ELSTAT) said in an e-mailed statement on Friday.

Greece?s average rate of inflation fell to 3.1 percent last year from 4.7 percent in 2010, when it was boosted by sales-tax increases introduced to help reduce the euro area?s biggest budget deficit.

The International Monetary Fund forecasts average inflation of 0.8 percent in 2012, according to a report published in December.

The cost of household appliances fell 1.3 percent last month from a year earlier and healthcare costs declined 0.5 percent, compared with 0.3 percent increases in both categories in December. [Bloomberg]