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Spain's March Core Inflation Rate Unchanged on Recession

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April 13 (Bloomberg) -- Spain’s underlying inflation rate was unchanged in March from the previous month as the economy suffered its second recession since 2009 and the government stepped up austerity efforts to rein in the euro area’s fourth-largest budget deficit.

Core consumer prices, which exclude energy and fresh food, rose 1.2 percent from a year earlier, matching the February rate, the National Statistics Institute in Madrid said today. Headline inflation, based on European Union calculations, was 1.8 percent, matching an initial estimate on March. 29.

Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy’s government presented the deepest budget cuts in more than three decades on March 30 even as it forecasts an economic contraction of 1.7 percent this year. Retail sales fell 6.4 percent in February from a year ago, the statistics institute said on March 30.

The government forecasts household spending will decline 1.4 percent in 2012, with export growth weakening, it said on March 2.

To contact the reporter on this story: Angeline Benoit in Madrid at abenoit4@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Craig Stirling at cstirling1@bloomberg.net