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BUSINESS SHORTS

March inflation lower than expected

SLOVAKIA'S CONSUMER prices grew less in March than analysts originally expected.

The Slovak Statistics Office announced on April 12 that consumer prices remained stable compared with February.

Consumer prices in Slovakia rose by 2.7 percent year-on-year in March 2007. Core inflation in the same period stood at 2.5 percent year-on-year, while net inflation was 2.4 percent.

"In particular, cheaper food and the drop in car prices, which softened the negative impact of the increase in motor fuel prices, were behind the stagnation in prices compared to the expected increase," an analyst with ČSOB bank, Silvia Čechovičová, told the SITA news wire.

Growth in inflation remains relatively favourable and the inflation rate should gradually slow down, analysts said.

"We see the main risk in the growth of crude oil prices, which pushes motor fuel prices up and also means a risk for energy prices," warned Čechovičová.

The Statistics Office announced on April 16 that the growth dynamics of consumer prices in Slovakia accelerated in March, according to a measure from the European Union.

The year-on-year inflation rate measured by the European Union's harmonized index of consumer prices reached 2.1 percent in March, up 0.1 percentage points compared with February. The monthly inflation rate was much the same as in the previous month.

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