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Annual Inflation Slightly Up to 2.3% (adds)

Ljubljana, 31 August (STA) - Slovenia's inflation rate was up 0.2 percentage points to 2.3% at the annual level in August as consumer prices rose by 0.3% over the month before, the Statistics Office reported on Tuesday. Measured with the harmonised index of consumer prices, an EU benchmark, annual inflation was at 2.4% in August.

Higher excise on tobacco contributed most the August inflation. Prices of tobacco products were up 4.7% due to higher excise, bringing the total price increase in the tobacco and alcoholic beverages group to 3.1%.

Significantly higher prices were also recorded in the groups housing equipment (1.4%), recreation and culture (1.1%), communication (1%), while housing saw a 0.1% increase owing to a 1.6% rise in electricity prices.

August was the first month this year that prices of food and non-alcoholic beverages dropped (0.7%) as vegetables were 7% cheaper than in the month before. Fruit, however, was 2.5% more expensive.

Higher prices of tobacco pushed inflation up by 0.2 percentage points, while higher prices of electricity, package holidays and increases in the group housing, water, electricity, gas and other each added 0.1 percentage point. All other increases added another 0.1 percentage point.

Lower prices of vegetables, petroleum products and new motor cars pushed inflation down by 0.1 percentage points each.

Year-on-year statisticians recorded the highest price rises in the groups housing (12.3%), tobacco and alcoholic beverages (8.2%), health (4%) and food and non-alcoholic beverages (2.9%).

Groups where prices dropped compared to last year include transport (2%), clothing and footwear (1.7%) and recreation (0.3%).

Commenting on the latest figures, the Institute of Macroeconomic Analysis and Development (IMAD), the government think-tank, said price trends over the past eight months have been underpinned by weak economic activity, the euro-dollar exchange rate and input prices.

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