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,%|
|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|
|Source: Statistical office|
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