Lebanon’s CPI shrinks 2.4% y/y in April

By bne IntelliNews May 22, 2016

Falling food, housing and transport prices cut Lebanon’s CPI by 2.4% y/y in April despite narrowing from a 3.6% annual deflation the preceding month, thus sustaining its downward pattern seen in 2015, data from the statistics office CAS showed. Lebanon’s CPI will remain in the red also this year with the IMF forecasting a contraction of 0.7%.

In monthly terms, the CPI, however, grew 0.8% in April, ticking up from a 0.5% m/m a month earlier on higher transport and clothing charges. Besides falling energy prices, Lebanon’s CPI is being weighed down by falling tourism demand which is reflecting on private consumption in the country.

Food and non-alcoholic beverage prices (20.6% of the basket) fell 1.9% m/m in April on favourable seasonal factors and low import inflation. The annual deflation thus widened to 2.4% from 1.8% y/y in March.

Transport prices (13% of the basket) fell 5% y/y in April (up 3.7% m/m though) whereas restaurant and hotel costs grew 3% y/y.

Housing charges (28.5% of the CPI index) rose 1.7% m/m in April but shrank 5% y/y, on falling utilities charges (down 14.4% y/y). Rent costs rose 2.7% y/y during the month due to high base effects.

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