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Annual Inflation Down to 1.5% in January (II)

Ljubljana, 09 February (STA) - Slovenia's annual inflation rate dropped by 0.3 percentage points to 1.5% in January. Consumer prices fell by 0.8% at the monthly level, mainly on account of seasonal sales, the Statistics Office said on Tuesday.

As is customary for January, end-of-season sales had an important impact on lower prices of clothing and footwear. These fell by 15.6%, contributing 1.3 percentage points to deflation.

Lower prices of cars and lower prices in the group recreation and culture added 0.1 of a percentage point each to deflation, Genovefa Ruzic, deputy director of the Statistics Office, told reporters in Ljubljana.

Clearance sales also contributed to the 0.9% drop in prices in the group recreation and culture. The prices of sports equipment went down the most (6.3%), followed by books (2.9%), gardening equipment, plants and flowers (1.9%) and package holidays (1.6%).

On the other hand, higher prices of liquid fuels (4.6%) electricity (3.8%) and gas (3.5%), and a 7.2% hike in the price of waste collection pushed up the prices in the group housing, water, electricity and gas.

Higher energy prices added 0.3 percentage points to the overall monthly price growth and higher prices of food and non-alcoholic beverages added a further 0.2 points.

The 0.9% increase in the prices of food and non-alcoholic beverages was mostly due to higher prices of vegetables (8.4%) and non-alcoholic beverages (2.2%), while fruit prices dropped by 2.5%.

Higher prices of municipal services and hikes in the groups health and communication each contributed 0.1 of a percentage point to price growth.

An increase in the prices of out-patient services (2.8%) and of telephone and internet services (1.5%) pushed up prices in the health and communication groups, respectively.

On average, goods prices went down by 1.3%, while service prices went up by 0.5%. At the annual level, goods were 1.2% costlier and services were dearer by 1.9%.

Measured with the harmonised index of consumer prices, which is used to compare price growth in the EU, Slovenia registered 0.6% deflation in January. The annual price growth decreased to 1.8%.

Commenting on the figures, the Institute of Macroeconomic Analysis and Development said the monthly drop in prices was expected in part affected by seasonal factors and in administered energy prices.

These had a key impact on price growth, the think-tank said, adding that there was also a continued growth in municipal services.

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