Bulgarian inflation highest in a decade

SOFIA (AFP) – Inflation in Bulgaria topped its highest level in 10 years in April, hitting 13.4 percent on a 12-month basis on rising food and fuel prices, the National Statistical Institute said yesterday. Inflation, as measured the harmonized index of consumer prices (HICP), is now at the highest level since the hyperinflation seen in 1997-1998, the statistics office said in a statement. HICP had already picked up to 13.2 percent in March. On a monthly basis, the cost of living in Bulgaria rose by 0.7 percent in April from the figure for March, the statisticians calculated. Since the beginning of the year, the accumulated rate of inflation stood at 4.3 percent. In the whole of last year, inflation in Bulgaria averaged an annual 8.4 percent, the highest full-year figure in seven years and one of the highest in the European Union. According to a recent forecast by the International Monetary Fund, the accumulated rate of inflation should come down to about 7 percent by the end of the year.