ECONOMY

Fuel prices push CPI inflation to 3.9 percent pace

Inflation jumped to an annual rate of 3.9 percent at the end of September, up from 3.7 percent at end-August, the National Statistics Service (NSS) announced yesterday. Month on month, the Consumer Price Index rose 2.2 percent, compared to a drop of 0.4 percent last year. «The main reason for the increase is the rise in fuel prices, which burdened the index by 0.2 percentage points,» NSS Secretary-General Manolis Kontopyrakis told reporters. «At today’s fuel prices, October inflation will be at the same levels as September,» Kontopyrakis said, adding that the 2005 inflation average is expected at 3.5-3.6 percent. Other factors that contributed to the higher inflation figure include price rises in services. Specifically, the transport sub-index gained 6.5 percent, not only because of gasoline price hikes but also because of hikes in tolls, taxi fares and auto spare parts. The housing sub-index gained 9.5 percent because of higher rents, household repair equipment and services and in electricity and water rates. The health sub-index rose 3.7 percent due to rise in doctors’ and hospital bills. Food and beverage prices rose at below-inflation levels. The Harmonized Index of Consumer Prices (HICP), used for direct comparison among eurozone member states, rose at an annual pace of 3.8 percent in September, compared to 3.6 percent in August, the NSS said. The eurozone HICP average is 2.5 percent.