Greek consumer prices rise in December, led by alcohol, transport costs


Greece's annual EU-harmonized inflation rate turned positive in December after a negative reading in the previous month, statistics service data showed on Wednesday.

The reading in December was 0.3 percent from -0.2 percent in November. Consumer prices were led higher by alcoholic beverages, tobacco, housing, hotels and transportation costs.

The data also showed the headline consumer price index was flat at zero percent year-on-year, with the annual pace of deflation slowing sharply from -0.9 percent in November.

For years an inflation outlier in the eurozone, Greece has been in a protracted deflation mode since March 2013 based on its headline index, as wage and pension cuts and a multi-year recession took a heavy toll on Greek household incomes.

Deflation in Greece, which signed up to its first international bailout in 2010, hit its highest level in November 2013, when consumer prices registered a 2.9 percent year-on-year decline.
By contrast, inflation in the 19 countries sharing the euro grew faster than expected in December, an estimate from the European Union's statistics office Eurostat showed earlier this month, driven by higher costs of energy, food and alcohol.

Eurostat said eurozone consumer prices rose 1.1 percent year-on-year, sharply accelerating from 0.6 percent in November. [Reuters]