29 MAY 2002
By Mario Schembri Wismayer
Inflation continued to climb, confirming Shadow Minister Leo Brincats predictions, which he made when he spoke to The Malta Financial and Business Times on Wednesday 1 May.
Mr Brincat had said then that he expected a continuation in the trend, citing several factors such as stagnation and the failure of lower interest rates to kick-start the economy.
In April 2002, the sections that were monitored for index purposes included Food, Beverages and Tobacco, Transport and Communications, Personal Care and Health, Education, Entertainment and Recreation and Other Goods and Services.
The Food items index went up by 0.24 points or 0.20 per cent over the previous month mainly due to average price increases in respect of chicken and rabbits, frozen meat, fresh vegetables and fresh fruit. In the same month, average price drops were recorded in respect of fresh fish and potatoes.
Higher average prices for soft drinks, beers and juices pushed up the Beverages and Tobacco index by 0.59 points or 0.39 per cent over the previous month.
The Transport and Communications index declined by 1.02 points or 0.81 per cent as a result of the drop in the price of fuel.
Higher average prices for a range of medicinal products resulted in a 0.28 points or 0.23 per cent increase in the Personal Care and Health index.
The Education, Entertainment and Recreation index increased by 2.67 points or 2.24 per cent. The recorded increase was mainly due to higher private school and school transport fees as well as higher average prices in respect of books, magazines and periodicals, entertainment equipment and gardening and related accessories.
The Other Goods and Services index went up by 0.07 points or 0.06 per cent over the previous month.
When compared over a period of time going back to January 1999, the rate of inflation has hit unrivalled levels from December 2001 all the way to April 2002
In April 2002, the rate of inflation stood at 3.65 per cent.