CONSUMER prices fell by 0.1 percent on an annual basis in March, the Slovak Statistics Office reported on April 14. The continued deflation was in line with the expectations of Slovakia's central bank, the NBS, the TASR newswire reported.
At the same time, the NBS indicates that it considers the likelihood of deflation at the end of this year to remain low, and it predicts that inflation will reach about 1 percent by that time.
The most notable price drops year-on-year were seen in the following areas: transport by 1.8 percent; postal and telecommunications services by 1.4 percent; housing, water, electricity, gas and other fuels by 1.1 percent; miscellaneous goods and services by 1 percent; and furnishings, household equipment and routine household maintenance by 0.7 percent, the TASR newswire reported.
Conversely, prices went up the most in education by 5 percent; alcoholic beverages and tobacco by 2.5 percent; hotels, cafes and restaurants by 1.4 percent; health care by 1 percent; clothing and footwear by 0.7 percent; foodstuffs and non-alcoholic beverages by 0.5 percent; and recreation and culture by 0.4 percent.
On a monthly basis, consumer prices as a whole stayed put. The price level seen in February was preserved in March in housing, water, electricity, gas and other fuels; health care; and postal and telecommunications services. Prices rose in monthly terms in furnishings, household equipment and routine household maintenance by 0.4 percent; alcoholic beverages and tobacco by 0.3 percent; education by 0.2 percent; as well as in recreation and culture, hotels, cafes and restaurants, and miscellaneous goods and services, all by 0.1 percent each. Prices fell on a monthly basis in the categories of transport by 0.1 percent, foodstuffs and non-alcoholic beverages by 0.3 percent and clothing and footwear by 0.1 percent.
Compared to the NBS's expectations, there was a slow rise in the prices of foodstuffs.
"The pace of growth in the prices of foodstuffs decelerated on the back of a month-on-month drop in the prices of unprocessed foodstuffs. The prices of vegetables dropped, and those of fruits dropped mildly as well. The prices of processed foods stayed put," according to NBS analysts.
Conversely, net inflation excluding the prices of fuel rose at a faster pace. This was prompted by faster-than-expected growth in the prices of spring clothing and seasonal goods following an early onset of warm weather.
Analysts addressed by TASR noted that an annual drop in prices did not concern all prices, as, for example, foodstuffs and alcohol-free beverages rose by half a percent. Furthermore, the prices of alcoholic beverages and cigarettes rose by 2.5 percent year-on-year.
"The share of cigarettes and alcoholic beverage in total consumption is relatively small, however, and won't offset price drops in other categories. Consumers don't exactly need to spend money on these items and can limit their spending on them," said Home Credit Slovakia analyst Michal Kozub told TASR.
On the other hand, positive news is represented by a 1.1-percent drop in the prices of items relative to housing, as this is an area where savings are more difficult to secure. According to Kozub, consumers cannot simply decide to 'cut' their consumption of water or rent payments.
Compiled by Michaela Terenzani from press reports.
The Slovak Spectator cannot vouch for the accuracy of the information
presented in its Flash News postings.
15. Apr 2014 at 10:00