ECONOMY

Steep hikes in private school fees

With the new school year starting in early September, parents will soon be paying education fees that are expected to be between 3 and 10 percent higher than last year, well above the inflation rate. Private schools have announced they will increase fees by an average of 10 percent this year for pupils in the early grades of primary school and for students enrolled in the first few years of secondary education. The level of fees payable and their structure often depend on the class the student is attending. Hikes in school fees will be more moderate for the remaining years in primary and secondary school education, just over 3 percent. As for other items, such as school bags and other accessories, consumers will find more affordable prices with many of them unchanged from last year’s levels. As the crisis bites into the economy, dragging demand for goods and services lower, inflation has been continually slowing in recent months but increased marginally in July due to a spike in energy prices. Consumer price inflation picked up slightly last month to an annual pace of 0.6 percent versus 0.5 percent in June. Consumer price growth in the 16-nation eurozone dropped to 0.6 percent year-on-year in July, the second month of negative inflation since the creation of the single-currency bloc in 1999.