The largest upward contribution to the CPI came from: housing & utilities (4.6 percent vs 5.1 percent in November), mainly due to higher rents and mortgage interest repayments in addition to an increase in the price of electricity, home heating oil and gas; restaurants & hotels (2.1 percent vs 1.9 percent), primarily due to higher prices for alcoholic drinks and food consumed in licensed premises, restaurants, cafes etc. which was partially offset by a reduction in the cost of hotel accommodation; and alcoholic beverages & tobacco (2.8 percent vs 3.1 percent), mainly due to higher prices for tobacco products.
On the other hand, prices fell for: miscellaneous goods & services (-2.4 percent vs -2.5 percent), primarily due to lower health and motor insurance premiums and a reduction in prices for appliances, articles & products for personal care; furnishings, household equipment & routine household maintenance (-3.5 percent vs -4.1 percent), mainly due to the reduced cost of non-durable household goods, furniture & furnishings, household textiles and glassware, tableware & household utensils; and food & non-alcoholic beverages (-1.4 percent vs -2 percent), due to lower prices across a range of products such as meat, bread & cereals, sugar, jam, honey, chocolate & confectionery and fruit.
Annual core inflation, which excludes energy and unprocessed food, picked up to 0.3 percent in December from 0.1 percent in November.
On a monthly basis, consumer prices were unchanged in December, after a 0.5 percent fall in November. An increase in prices of transport (0.5 percent) and restaurants & hotels (0.1 percent) was offset by a decline in costs of clothing & footwear (-1.1 percent) and alcoholic beverages & tobacco (-1 percent).
The harmonised index of consumer prices rose by 0.8 percent from the previous year; and fell by 0.1 percent from the previous month.