Data published by the National Office of Statistics shows that 2020 has had the most expensive March since 2017. The inflation rate which in 2018 reached its lowest ebb in July 2018 peaked a year later in 2019 and, while currently on the decline, has still left March 2020 ranking highest in comparison.
Food, the biggest component of the retail price index, shot up from 99.65 in March 2017 to 108.39 in 2020. The next biggest component, transport and communication went from 100.14 to 103.28. This is an increase of 11.88% in a matter of 3 years. While housing shot from 100.37 in March 2017 to 105.31 in March 2020 utility bills remains relatively even. The statement issued by the NSO indeed reports that for March 2020 the highest inflation rates were registered for food and housing. “In March 2020, the largest upward impact on annual inflation was registered in the Food index (+0.46 percentage points), mainly due to the higher prices of milk. The second and third largest impacts were measured in the Transport and Communication index (+0.19 percentage points) and the Recreation and Culture (+0.19 percentage points) mainly on account of the higher prices of fuel and the hire premises for private events respectively,” said the NSO.
According to the NSO, the housing index registered an overall annual inflation rate of 2.19%. In this sector, the rent component registered an inflation rate of 5.41%. Aspects related to housing such as maintenance materials and services too registered a notable inflation hike. On the other hand, household equipment costs eased as did furnishings and soft furnishings.