Serbia's CPI inflation retreats to 11.2% y/y in Mar 2013

By bne IntelliNews April 15, 2013

Serbia's CPI inflation sustained its downward trend, cooling to a still-high 11.2% y/y in March from 12.4% the month before due to slower food, housing and transport price growth, the statistics office stated. Household-related components and alcohol and tobacco prices, however, remained high given the strong private consumption, thus creating price stickiness. In case food prices (34.5% of the index) fall further in the near term—as expected—this will help cut CPI inflation to bring it down within the central bank’s comfort zone of 2.5%-5.5% in 2013. Inflation has been moving above the upper range of the NBS target band since July 2012.

In monthly terms, CPI inflation was 0.0% m/m compared with 0.5% growth in February.

Food costs fell 0.1% m/m in March, helping cut annual growth to 14.8% y/y from 16.6% the month before. Housing and utility charges (13% of the CPI basket) shrank 0.4% m/m, reducing annual expansion to 6.6% y/y in March from 7.2% a month earlier.

Serb state-owned energy producer EPS said earlier this month that electricity prices will not increase before mid-summer. Electricity costs were supposed to rise in Q1 before delaying the hike to April 1 and then May 1.

Serbia's CPI inflation, y/y,% Dec'12 Jan'13 Feb'13 Mar'13 Share in the CPI basket,%
Total 12.2 12.8 12.4 11.2 100
Food and non-alcoholic beverages 15.4 18 16.6 14.8 34.5
Alcoholic beverages, tobacco and narcotics 31.7 26.7 30.7 30.6 7.8
Clothing and footwear 4.1 2.6 2.6 2.4 4.6
Housing, water, electricity, gas and other fuels 6.9 6.7 7.2 6.6 13
Furnishings, household equipment and routine household maintenance 12.6 12.8 11.9 12.2 4.1
Health 5.8 8.7 8.4 8.1 6.4
Transport 11.5 9.8 8.1 4.6 12.3
Source: Statistical office          

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