ECONOMY

Consumer prices keep rising

Despite the contraction of the economy, consumer prices keep rising at a level that exceeds 2 percent on an annual basis, as inflation came to 2.1 percent in February according to a Hellenic Statistical Authority (ELSTAT) report on Friday.

The increase in the prices of fuel, fresh fruit and vegetables, and food served in restaurants and bars (due to the increase in value-added tax) compared with February 2011 resulted in a relatively high inflation level, given the recession.

There was still a decline in the prices of apparel, homeware products, telecommunications and drugs.

The average inflation rate for the 12 months to February 2012 came to 2.9 percent from the year before, compared to 5.1 percent in the previous 12 months.

The commodities with the biggest annual rise last month were heating oil (25.1 percent), natural gas (23.6 percent), electricity (13.9 percent), road toll rates (9.7 percent), gasoline (8.6 percent) and fresh fruit (7.8 percent).