Year-on-year, prices rose faster for food & non-alcoholic beverages (1.4 percent vs 0.9 percent in January), mostly pushed up by vegetables (7.8 percent vs 4.7 percent) and rebounded significantly for transport (1.8 percent vs -0.2 percent), driven by fuels (4.2 percent vs -0.3 percent).
On the other hand, cost slowed for housing (0.9 percent vs 2.4 percent), led by electricity (-1.1 percent vs 5.7 percent) and gas (2.1 percent vs 2.8 percent); and communications (1.5 percent vs 2.6 percent). Also, inflation remained steady for hotels, cafes & restaurants (at 1.8 percent); miscellaneous goods & services (at 1.4 percent); clothing & footwear (at 0.8 percent); health (at 0.9 percent) and education (at 1 percent). Meantime, prices fell further for recreation & culture (-1.6 percent vs -0.9 percent) amid a sharp decrease in tourist packages cost (-6.2 percent vs -2.8 percent).
Annual core inflation, which excludes volatile items such as food and energy, eased to 0.7 percent in February from 0.8 percent in January. It is the lowest rate since July 2016.
On a monthly basis, consumer prices went up 0.2 percent, following a 1.3 percent decline in January and matching an earlier estimate and market expectations. Main upward pressure came from cost of food (0.3 percent vs -0.1 percent), due to vegetables (2.1 percent vs 1.7 percent) and transport (1.5 percent vs 0.3 percent) owing to fuels (3.5 percent vs 0.8 percent).
The harmonized index of consumer prices advanced 1.1 percent year-on-year (from 1 percent in January), and increased 0.2 percent from the previous month (from -1.7 percent in January).