Ecuador Prices Jump Most Since 2009 on Food, Services Costs

Annual inflation in Ecuador, which uses the U.S. dollar as its official currency, was the fastest in more than two years in October, led by increases in food and services, the National Statistics and Census Institute said.

Consumer prices rose 0.35 percent from September and 5.5 percent from a year earlier, the agency said today in a report on its website. The annual increase is the highest since April 2009’s 6.52 percent rise.

An economic boom in the Andean country, fanned by windfall oil profits and increased home lending, along with higher prices for rice and other food staples, caused the Finance Ministry to raise its 2011 inflation forecast last week to 4.47 percent, Finance Minister Patricio Rivera said yesterday.

“The biggest component with the most impact is imported,” Rivera said. “There are also slight moves in prices as a result of all the economic activity being generated” locally, he said.

In its Nov. 1 budget presentation to Congress, the ministry forecast the economy will expand 6.5 percent this year.

Inflation last month was fastest in the port city of Manta, where prices rose 1.04 percent, while they fell 0.16 percent in Guayaquil, the nation’s largest city, the statistics agency said. Ecuador, the smallest member of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, subsidizes fuel costs and the domestic use of natural gas.

Producer prices fell 1.13 percent in October, taking the year-on-year increase to 4.96 percent, according to the report.

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