March inflation falls to 41-year low

Consumer price inflation (CPI) slowed to 1.3 percent year-on-year in March, its lowest in about 41 years, and is expected to remain at about the same level this month, the National Statistics Service (NSS) said yesterday. Headline consumer inflation in March fell to its lowest level since September 1968 due to plummeting energy and food prices. «As things stand, April CPI is expected to stay at about current levels, around 1.3 percent,» said NSS chief Manolis Kontopyrakis. «The drop in heating oil prices by 3.5 percent compared to a 7.1 percent rise last year and contained prices in other goods and services were the reasons for the drop in inflation.» A breakdown of the index shows heating oil and car fuel retreating in March by 39.1 percent and 17.8 percent respectively. Items whose prices rose included rice and fresh vegetables, which were 11.2 percent and 12.5 percent more expensive respectively. Car registration fees and road toll charges also increased almost 20 percent. «Average 2009 inflation should be around 1.3 percent. We still think inflation will be higher in Greece than in other eurozone members because, even though demand will weaken, it will remain more robust than in the euro area, as there are competition rigidities in the Greek domestic market,» economist Diego Iscaro from IHS Global Insight told Reuters.

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