ECONOMY

Inflation picks up to 2.8 percent

Consumer price inflation advanced by an annual rate of 2.8 percent in February, picking up from 2.4 percent in the previous month, due to a sharp hike in petrol costs, according to the National Statistics Service (NSS). The NSS said yesterday transport costs in February rose by 11.4 percent year-on-year due to higher road tolls, car fuel and vehicle parts. «Part of the increase was offset by a reduction in the price of cars,» the NSS said. The first of two tax hikes on fuel took place in February as the government attempts to boost revenues to help tame its massive budget deficit. The second increase in fuel tax took place earlier this month. Despite food companies lowering prices by 1.7 percent in February as the downturn weighs heavily on consumer spending, price hikes in Greece are among the highest in the eurozone. Inflation in the 16 countries that use the euro decelerated to 0.90 percent in February from 1 percent in January, in a sign that price pressures in the single currency zone remain subdued in the wake of the recession.