ECONOMY

Consumer price index stages a coup

For the first time in almost 45 years, the annual rate of inflation posted a 0.2 percent decline in March 2013, according to data released on Tuesday by the Hellenic Statistical Authority (ELSTAT).

The last time prices dropped on a yearly basis was in May 1968, after the military junta took control of the country.

Despite this encouraging sign of deflation, the prices of a number of goods have continued to rise. These include potatoes (up 27.9 percent), heating oil (26.9 percent) and electricity rates (12.9 percent). Cigarettes have also gone up by 5.9 percent.

The biggest drop was in the price of medicines, averaging at 14.6 percent.

The Finance Ministry expects prices to continue to fall for most of the rest of the year, with inflation seen coming in at zero at the end of 2013, against inflation of 1.5 percent for the whole of 2012.