ECONOMY

Inflation rate drops to 3.3 pct

Greece’s consumer inflation slowed to 3.3 percent year-on-year in August, below market expectations, helped by lower fresh produce and telecoms prices, the National Statistics Service (NSS) announced yesterday. Economists had expected inflation to ease to as low as 3.4 percent from 3.6 percent in July on the back of cheaper fruits and vegetables. Fresh produce prices rose earlier this year as bad weather destroyed crops, driving inflation above the 4 percent level. For the government, the latest figures have spurred its hopes for an inflation rate of below 3 percent by the year’s end. The Bank of Greece, however, is maintaining a less optimistic position on the end-of-year inflation rate. It has forecast a 3.6 percent figure. Vegetables were 13.6 percent cheaper on a monthly basis while, year-on-year, the price drop came to 5.7 percent. The NSS’s unofficial data also showed core inflation, which excludes fresh produce and fuel, easing to 3.0 percent in August from 3.1 percent in the previous month, Nikos Karavitis, NSS secretary-general, told reporters. «Reductions in fruit and vegetable prices are on track in September as well,» Karavitis said. It was still too early to estimate the impact from a cut in car registration fees, announced by the government last week, Karavitis noted. Greece’s EU-harmonized consumer price inflation, the rate used by the European Union in its calculations of the overall eurozone inflation, fell to 3.3 percent year-on-year in August from 3.5 percent in July. But this was still sharply above the eurozone average. Average inflation in the 12-nation eurozone accelerated to 2.1 percent in August, according to a flash estimate from Eurostat, the Luxembourg-based EU statistics service. (Reuters/Kathimerini)