Italy’s Inflation Rate Drops to 17-Month Low of 2.4% in January

Italy’s inflation rate based on European Union measurements dropped to 2.4 percent in January as the country’s recession deepened, Rome-based national statistics office Istat said in a preliminary report today.

The rate was the lowest since Aug. 2011 and less than the 2.6 percent forecast by economists, according to the median of 16 predictions in a Bloomberg News survey. In the month, consumer prices dropped 2 percent as retailers offered seasonal discounts, Istat said.

Based on Italian methodology, prices rose 0.2 percent from December and gained 2.2 percent from a year earlier, Istat said today. Gasoline prices rose 0.1 percent from the previous month and 3.1 percent from a year earlier.

Today’s figures were based on a revised basket of goods and services Istat uses to measure the monthly changes in consumer prices. New entries included natural gas for transportation and a larger number of smart phones and electronic book readers than in the old basket.

To contact the reporter on this story: Lorenzo Totaro in Rome at ltotaro@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Jerrold Colten at jcolten@bloomberg.net; Craig Stirling at cstirling1@bloomberg.net

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