Soaring tobacco and clothing costs lifted Tunisia’s CPI inflation to a five-month high of 4.6% y/y in October from 4.2% y/y a month earlier despite slower food price growth, the statistics office INS said.
The print, albeit potentially a one-off hike, contradicts the central bank’s recent decision to reduce the benchmark interest rate by 50bp to 4.25%, seeking to reignite the tumbling GDP growth amid slowing CPI inflation and contracting industrial output.
In monthly terms, the CPI rose 1.0% in October, spiking from a 0.3% m/m increase the month before.
Excluding tobacco and clothing costs, the CPI inflation reached 4.3% y/y in October.
Food prices grew 0.6% m/m in October, trimming the annual expansion to 3.4% from 4.0% y/y in September.
Fresh vegetables grew 3.9% m/m during the month and those of fresh fruits rose 1.8% m/m. Fish costs, however, fell 0.7% m/m in October and those of poultry dropped 1.7%.
Housing and utilities prices (14% of the basket) ticked up just 0.1% m/m, cutting the annual rise to 5.4% from 5.5% y/y in September. Rents charges climbed 7.6% y/y in October while those of utilities edged up 0.2% on falling energy costs. Tobacco charges jumped 13.6% m/m and 14.1% y/y in October while those of alcohol grew 5.9% y/y. Education costs also rose 7.9% y/y ahead of the new academic year.
Transport prices edged flattened m/m during the month but rose 1.7% y/y.
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