Latvia has recorded its highest annual inflation rate since 2012 as consumer prices in February climbed 3.3 percent against the same period last year, but the Finance Ministry expects inflation to stay below 3.0 percent in the coming months.
Commenting on Latvia’s latest inflation data released on Wednesday by the national statistics office, the ministry said that the steep rise of inflation last month was caused primarily by climbing prices of food and transport-related goods and services.
“In the following months, inflation is not expected to rise above the 3.0 percent mark,” the ministry said.
Ministry representatives noted that in February food prices went up 6.1 percent with price hikes recorded in all food product categories.
“Food prices have been seen rising also in the world’s markets. The data of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) show that the FAO food price index continued to climb in February, showing a 17.2 percent annual increase. Still, the average price level of food commodities in the world’s markets is lower than in 2014 when prices started to drop sharply,” the ministry said.
As a result, food commodities might rise in price in Latvia as well, benefiting Latvia’s farmers. However, Latvian food prices have already reached a record high and a further rise in prices will be limited by purchasing power, finance ministry representatives said.
Slipping energy prices ensured very low inflation in Latvia last year, but this year rising oil prices have been pushing fuel prices up.
In February, fuel prices in the country jumped 18.8 percent year-on-year. The Finance Ministry, however, expected this rise in fuel prices to subside in mid-2017 if the oil price remained at its current level.
The effect of other goods and services prices on Latvia’s annual inflation in February was not so strong, although housing-related expenses increased by 1.7 percent and telecommunications became 6.2 percent more costly.
According to the statistics office’s data, Latvian consumer prices moved up 0.4 percent month-on-month in February. Enditem