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ECONOMIC BRIEFS

Consumer prices rise in March

March consumer prices were 7% higher in comparison to the same month of 1998 and housing, water, electricity, and gas prices registered a major 17.2% increase. The hotel, cafe, and restaurant trade showed an increase of 7.8%, according to a Slovak Statistic Bureau report.

The report added that prices for culture and recreation have recorded a 7.7% increase, clothes and shoes 7.7%, education 6.3%, and transport 6%.

Compared to February, March was more expensive for consumers by about .3% The major month-on-month increases were in general stores and services (2.2%) and furniture and house equipment (.9%Ç) In contrast, food and soft drink prices dropped by .5%. Meat, in particular, was 2.3% cheaper.

The year-on-year inflation rate showed an upward trend as well. While consumer prices went up 6.8% y/y in January, they rose 6.9% this February. In its 1999 monetary program, the National Bank of Slovakia (NBS) set net inflation at 5-7%. Each 10% increase in regulated prices will reflect in an increase in consumer prices by another two percent.

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