Tunisia’s CPI inflation cooled to 5.3% y/y in May from a six-month high of 5.7% y/y the month before mainly on slower food and housing price growth and falling telecoms costs, the statistics office INS said.
The reading is good news for the central bank amid also easing core inflation and thus accommodating the c-bank’s cautious monetary stance by leaving the benchmark interest rate unchanged at 4.75% to boost sluggish GDP growth.
In monthly terms, the CPI grew 0.4%, easing from a 0.6% monthly rise in April.
Favourable seasonal factors kept food and beverages prices (33% of the basket) muted m/m in May, cutting the annual rise to 6.3% y/y from 7.2% y/y in April. The government also plans to import large quantities of wheat this year but lower commodity prices will keep the imports bill anchored. Poultry prices fell 1.6% m/m in May and those of eggs dropped 2.5%. Fresh vegetables costs also fell 0.3% m/m in May.
Housing and utilities prices (14% of the basket) grew 0.3% m/m in May on subdued oil prices, cutting the annual rise to 4.5% from 5.4% y/y in April.
Transport prices rose 0.3% m/m in May, lifting the annual rise to 3.1% from 2.9% y/y in April. Strong local demand boosted restaurant ad hotels prices by 11.5% y/y in May.
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