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Inflation Up to 1.9% in March (II)

Ljubljana, 31 March (STA) - The annual inflation rate spiked 0.5 percentage points to 1.9% in March as the end-of-season clearance sales of clothing culminated and the price of top-up health insurance went up, the Statistics Office said on Thursday.

The consumer price index in March stood at 1.6%, the highest monthly increase in prices in the past year.

Clothing and footwear, the price of which was up 11.4% on average as seasonal clearance sales ended, contributed the most to monthly inflation, Genovefa Ruzic of the Statistics Office told the press.

Also having an important role in the monthly increase was the the fee for the public broadcaster, which returned to EUR 12, after a legal mistake inadvertently gave Slovenians a discount in January.

This was also highlighted by the Institute for Macroeconomic Analysis and Development (IMAD), a government think-tank, which said in a statement this alone contributed 0.5 percentage points to March inflation.

Additionally, an increase in top-up insurance and the price of postal services also pushed up inflation in March.

There were few drops in prices in March, with prices of health products and services down 0.2% and education products and services 0.1% cheaper.

A spike in energy and food prices has contributed the most to inflation on a yearly level, with the energy-heavy housing category and food and non-alcoholic beverages group registering price increases of 6.5% and 3.9% respectively.

Prices of housing equipment and communications also contributed their share in annual inflation, rising by 3.3% each.

Meanwhile, clothing and footwear was cheaper by 2.1% on average compared to last March, while the price of hospitality products and services declined by 10.9%.

Measured with the EU-compatible harmonised index, annual inflation in Slovenia stood at 2.4% in March.

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