Inflation rate steady at 1.2% in January – CSO

The annual rate of inflation stood at 1.2% in January, unchanged from the December reading.New figures from the Central Statistics Office show that consumer prices fell by 0.5% in the month, which compared to a fall of 0.5% the same time last year.The CSO said that the price of clothing and footwear dropped 11% due to the traditional winter sales.Household equipment and ”routine household maintenance” prices were also lower due to sales.Lower prices for car insurance premiums were also noted last month.Alcohol and tobacco prices rose by 5.4% on the back of a recovery in prices for wine, spirits and beer sold in off-licences and supermarkets, while health costs increased by 1% due to an increase in the price of prescribed drugs.
The CSO said that the annual rate of inflation for services was 1.7% in the year to January, while goods rose by 0.6%.Today’s figures also show that the EU Harmonised Index of Consumer Prices fell by 0.67% in the month, compared with a fall of 0.4% the same time last year. Prices on average, as measured by the HICP, were 1.5% higher last month.Merrion economic Alan McQuaid said that domestic inflationary pressures in Ireland are likely to remain depressed for some time to come.

”The fiscal measures announced in Budget 2013 will again hit disposable incomes, which in turn will weigh negatively on spending power. However, indirect tax hikes will add to the CPI in the coming months, but in overall terms it is very much a picture of subdued price pressures, which will help ease the pain to some degree on the household sector,” he said.

The economist said that the main risk on the inflation front this year will once more come from the external side, and in particular the price of energy on the global market.