ECONOMY

Heating oil fuels price increases

The high cost of fuel, and particularly of heating oil, has kept prices rising in Greece, albeit at the lowest rate in the European Union.

The Harmonized Consumer Price Index compiled by the Hellenic Statistical Authority (ELSTAT) showed that Greece posted the smallest annual increase among EU countries, at just 0.33 percent, due to the decline in consumption and to a lesser extent the liberalization of markets.

Although labor costs have declined considerably in the last three years, the prices of products and services remain high. The reasons for that are high energy costs, increases in direct and indirect taxes, the country’s continued dependence on imports of raw materials and finished products, and enterprises’ inability to secure funding from the credit system.

ELSTAT says the three product groups with a price increase were housing costs (11.09 percent), due to heating oil, apparel (5.32 percent) and transport (1.64 percent).