ECONOMY

Inflation falls to 3.4 pct

Consumer inflation was running at a 3.4-percent annual pace at the end of May, from 3.8 percent at end-April, the National Statistics Service (NSS) announced yesterday. This was the second-straight decline in the annual pace of inflation. NSS General Secretary Nikos Karavitis said the decline was expected to continue in June. A steep decline in the prices of fresh vegetables from the previous month (30.2 percent) more than offset increases in fresh fruit, other foods and beverages, NSS data showed. Month-to-month inflation was zero. On an annual basis, tobacco and spirits rose 11.9 percent, followed by hotels, cafes and restaurants (8.4 percent) and clothing and footwear (4.8 percent). Prices actually declined in telecommunications (4.6 percent) and transport (1.5 percent). However, the steepest decline was in fuel prices (10.8 percent). May’s inflation figure was better than expected by market analysts, but inflation is still almost double that of the 12-member eurozone. Greece’s harmonized index of consumer prices (HICP) rose 3.8 percent year-on-year in May, down from 4.1 percent in April. Eurostat, the European Union’s statistics service expects the eurozone’s HICP growth rate to drop to 2 percent in May, from 2.4 percent in April. Economy and Finance Minister Nikos Christodoulakis recently revised upward the government’s average CPI inflation target for the year to about 3 percent from the previous 2.8-percent estimate included in this year’s budget. The NSS also said wholesale inflation – considered by economists an indicator of upcoming inflationary trends – slowed to 3.1 percent year-on-year in April from 3.7 percent in March.