In February, the politically sensitive food prices increased by 4.4 percent, rising for the first time since January 2017 and reversing 0.5 percent decline in the prior month. Prices surged for fresh vegetables (17.7 percent from -5.8 percent in a month earlier) and rose at a faster pace for eggs (22.5 percent from 14.2 percent) and fresh fruits (8.7 percent from 6.4 percent). Meantime, cost continued to increase for milk (0.4 percent from 0.9 percent) and tobacco (0.1 percent from 0.1 percent). In contrast, cost of pork continued to fall (-7.3 percent from -10.6 percent).
Cost of non-food rose at a faster 2.5 percent (from 2.0 percent in January). Prices increased at a faster rate for: household goods and services (1.8 percent from 1.5 percent); transport and communication (1.5 percent from 0.2 percent); education, culture & recreation (3.7 percent from 0.9 percent) and other goods and services (1.7 percent from 1.2 percent). Meanwhile, cost went up at a softer pace for: clothing (1.1 percent from 1.4 percent); rent, fuel & utilities (2.2 percent from 2.7 percent) and healthcare (6.0 percent from 6.2 percent). Cost of consumer goods grew 2.5 percent (1.0 percent in December) and those of services were up 3.6 percent (from 2.3 percent).
On a monthly basis,
consumer prices increased by 1.2 percent, much faster than a 0.6 percent gain in the preceding month and above estimates of a 0.8 percent rise. It was the highest monthly figure since February 2016.
The producer price index
increased by 3.7 percent from a year earlier in February, the least since November 2016, and compared to a 4.3 percent rise in the prior month and markets estimates of a 3.8 percent gain. Still, it was the 18th straight month of rise in producer inflation. Cost rose at a softer pace for means of production (4.8 percent from 5.7 percent in January) namely extraction (6.4 percent), raw materials (5.9 percent) and processing (4.2 percent). Meantime, inflation was steady for consumer goods (0.3 percent) namely daily use goods (1.1 percent), clothing (0.5 percent) while food production was flat. At the same time, prices of consumer durable goods continued to decline (-0.1 percent from -0.3 percent in the prior month). On a monthly basis, producer prices fell by 0.3 percent, following a 0.3 percent gain in January.