Банкеръ Weekly



Inflation for January 2002 was 2,8 per cent, preliminary results of the National Statistics Institute (NSI), showed. This is the highest rate for the last four years. In January 1998 and 1999 prices rose by some 2.4 per cent, in January 2000 inflation dropped to 0.6 per cent, and in January 2001 it was 0.9 per cent.Inflation rate usually goes up in the first month of the year, Radka Kunova, Head of Consumer Prices Index in NSI, commented. The main reason for this is that by tradition most of the goods and services are offered at discounts each December, and prices go back to the previous levels in the beginning of the following year. Statisticians regard this as price increase.The alarming fact is that despite the high inflation rate, registered in January, the hiked prices of cigarettes and garbage taxes were not calculated in the inflation for the first month of this year. The NSI reported only 1% increase in the prices of tobacco products in January 2002 as compared to December 2001. Cigarettes were sold at their hiked prices in just four regions of the country throughout January, Ms. Kunova commented. The reason is that dealers were forced to sell the quantities they had in stock at their former prices. Therefore, the price increase of tobacco products will be included in the February inflation. The reason for not including the hiked garbage tax in NSI's calculations is similar. It is paid at a 5% discount till March 31 and its higher levels will be taken into account when calculating the households' expenses for February and March.Prices of all groups of goods and services, monitored by the NSI, registered an increase in January 2002 as compared to December 2001. The highest price rise was registered by foods, which went up 3.1 per cent, followed by non-foods - 2.6 per cent, and services - 2.5 per cent. The highest price rise in the group of non-foods was the hike of heating energy - by 4.3 per cent, of electricity - by 4.1 per cent, and of medicines in health care - by 9.8 per cent.

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