Inflation stood at its highest level in five quarters. Prices remained elevated for housing & utilities (3.1 percent, the same pace as in Q3), with rentals for housing up 2.4 percent, construction up 3.6 percent, and local authority rates up 5.1 percent. Also, inflation went up for the food group (0.6 percent vs 0.2 percent), despite a 6.2 percent decline in fruit & vegetable prices; and health (1.6 percent vs 0.8 percent). In addition, cost was higher for recreation & culture (2.1 percent vs 0.4 percent), driven by the release of popular, new, and more expensive electronic video games.
On the other hand, cost advanced less for transport (3.5 percent vs 5.6 percent), amid weaker pressure from petrol prices (11.1 percent vs 18.6 percent) while that for passenger transport services declined 1.7 percent, mainly aided by lower international air transport prices. Inflation for liquor & tobacco also dropped to 3.8 percent from 4.7 percent in the third quarter.
On a quarterly basis, prices edged up 0.1 percent, after a 0.9 percent rise in Q3 and compared to expectations of unchanged prices.