Estonia's consumer price index (CPI) growth came in at 2.8% in annual terms in March, slowing down 0.3pp compared to the annual reading from the previous month, data from Statistics Estonia showed on April 6.
The reading shows Estonian price growth slowing down for a second month straight, although inflation moved below the 3% line only for the first time since June 2017.
CPI is expected to expand 3.1% in 2018, according to the European Commission’s most recent forecast. Eesti Pank predicts inflation of 3.2% this year. The overall price growth came in at 3.4% in 2017.
The annual growth in March was driven by prices of food and non-alcoholic beverages rising 3.9% y/y. That included significant growth in prices of milk, dairy products, eggs, and fruit.
Meanwhile, prices of alcohol and tobacco expanded 11% y/y while prices in the housing segment grew 5.9% on the year. There also was an annual growth of 7% in petrol prices and a 5.1% y/y expansion in diesel fuel.
Prices fell 0.3% y/y in March in the transport segment. Prices also fell in the clothing and footwear, communications, and education segments.
Overall, price growth of goods came in at 3.1% y/y in March, while services were 2.3% more expensive in annual terms.
March saw the Estonian CPI in positive territory for the twentieth consecutive month after deflation dominated between May 2015 and July 2016. In monthly terms, consumer prices did not change, repeating performance from the previous month.