Economy

Albania posts annual inflation of 2% in March

Albania posts annual inflation of 2% in March

Consumer prices rose 2.0% year on year in March, the Central Statistical Office (KSH) reported on Tuesday. It was the lowest year over year increase since February 2017 when annual inflation reached 4.86%, and 0.3% lower than last month's rate. Prices for fish, fish products, butter, bread, pasta, cheese, rice, meat and meat products grew by 1.6%-0.8%.

Over the last 12 months, inflation is running at a rate of 2.4 percent.

The U.S. central bank increased borrowing costs last month and forecast at least two additional rate hikes in 2018.

Annual inflation is rising as the weak readings from previous year drop from the calculation.

"Despite the downward surprise for CPI, mostly due to a correction of food prices after the holiday, the overall economy remains robust", said Zhang Yi, a Beijing-based analyst with Capital Securities.

The IMF said in a report earlier that it expected inflation to fall to 12 percent by June and to single digits by 2019.

The Labor Department said Wednesday morning that on a monthly basis, the consumer price index declined 0.1 percent in March.

The fuel price slump was likely to be dismissed as noise, since economists have predicted the volatility in the spring months after seeing similar moves past year.

Core inflation, which excludes energy and unprocessed food products, climbed to 0.8 percent from 0.6 percent. But Ian Shepherdson of Pantheon Macroeconomics is among the economists who now expect four moves.

Market reaction:The Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500 index were both set to open sharply lower amid worries about a US military strike in Syria and heightened tensions with Russian Federation.

The cost of other major household expenses such as rent and medical care rose more sharply, however, as did prices for plane flights and auto insurance. Food prices edged up 0.1 percent after being unchanged in February.

Average hourly earnings posted the biggest gain since July 2016, rising 0.4 per cent in March, following the 0.1 per cent decline in February, according to a separate report.

Prices for new motor vehicles and recreation were unchanged last month.

Healthcare costs increased 0.4 percent, with prices for hospital care shooting up 0.6 percent and the cost of doctor visits rising 0.2 percent.


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