4 - 10 April 2001

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Inflation continues to fall to 14-month low of 2.01
- retail price index climbs 0.27%

Malta's rate of inflation, following January's 14 month low of 2.15, has managed to drop again – making Febraury's inflation rate Malta's lowest in 15 months at 2.01 per cent. In fact, barring a particularly good run between February and November last year, February's inflation rate of 2.01 is the lowest over the last three years.

However, despite the drop in interest rates, February's Retail Price Index, a figure used to gauge overall consumer prices, rose by 0.27 per cent and reached 113.26. Since the inception of 2000, Malta's RPI has fluctuated unremarkably in fact, it had reached a low of 111.78 in April 2000 and had reached a high of 114.09 in November 2000.

During February of this year groups monitored within the Retail Price Index that were monitored were food, personal care and health and ‘other goods and services.'
The highest climber in terms of retail price was the personal care and health section, which rose by 1.12 per cent, or 1.32 points. Within this section, price increases were registered in the medical services provided by dentists, general practitioners and specialists. Meanwhile, higher fees were also charged for medical tests, coupled with a rise in the prices of medicine and medicinal products.

Higher prices for fresh meat, chicken and rabbit, butter and margarine, potatoes, fresh vegetables and fruit and confectionery items were the main contributors toward an increase of 0.64 per cent, or 0.64 per cent, in the food items index over that of the previous month. However, a decrease in the price of fish was also registered.

Mainly due to price changes within a wide range of cleaning products, the other goods and services group index saw an increase of 0.23 per cent, or 0.25 points, over that of the previous month.

The Business Times, Network House, Vjal ir-Rihan San Gwann SGN 07
Tel: (356) 382741-3, 382745-6 | Fax: (356) 385075 | e-mail: editorial@networkpublications.com.mt