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Estonian Consumer-Price Growth Accelerated on Power, Heating

Estonian inflation accelerated for the first time in five months in January because of tariff increases for electricity and heating and higher fuel costs.

The inflation rate rose to 4.5 percent from a year earlier, compared with a 16-month low of 3.7 percent in December, the statistics office in the capital, Tallinn, said today on its website. The median forecast in a Bloomberg survey of four analysts was for 4.1 percent growth. Prices rose 0.7 percent from the previous month.

The Finance Ministry said last month it expected inflation to accelerate “temporarily” in January after the national gas company AS Eesti Gaas and power utility AS Eesti Energia both announced plans to raise rates from the start of the year.

Estonia, the newest member of the euro region, had the second-fastest average inflation in the 27-member European Union behind Romania in the 12 months to December, according to Eurostat, the EU statistics agency. Price growth has been boosted by higher global food and fuel costs as well as Estonia’s economic growth accelerating to the fastest pace in the EU last year.

Electricity prices rose 4.4 percent last month from December, while heating costs increased 2.9 percent and gas prices jumped 10.6 percent, according to the statistics office.

Average annual inflation may slow to 3.2 percent this year from a three-year high of 5 percent last year as global price pressures ease, Swedbank AB forecast Jan. 24.

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