Year-on-year, prices advanced at a faster pace for food, beverages & tobacco (4.56 percent compared to 4.34 percent in February); energy (6.86 percent compared to 6.57 percent); and housing (2.68 percent compared to 2.62 percent). On the other hand, cost slowed for agricultural goods (3.70 percent compared to 4.80 percent), driven by fruits & vegetables (9.65 percent compared to 10.68 percent) and livestock products (-0.21 percent compared to 0.77 percent); and other services including restaurants, telephone services, medical services and package tourist services (3.79 percent compared to 4.02 percent). Also, inflation was steady for education (at 4.84 percent, the same as in February).
On a monthly basis, consumer prices went up 0.39 percent in March, after a flat reading in the prior month and below market consensus of 0.41 percent. Prices increased further for housing (0.30 percent compared to 0.28 percent) and fell at slower pace for agricultural goods (-0.67 percent compared to -4.28 percent), namely fruits & vegetables (-1.23 percent compared to -9.13 percent). Meanwhile, cost eased for food, beverages & tobacco (0.38 percent compared to 0.54 percent) and education (0.02 percent compared to 0.60 percent).
The core index, which strips out some volatile food and energy prices increased by 0.34 percent month-over-month (vs 0.43 percent in February) and by 3.55 percent over the previous year (vs 3.5 percent in February).