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Estonian Consumer Prices Grow Least in 28 Months on Food

Jan. 8 (Bloomberg) -- Estonian inflation slowed to the weakest pace in 28 months in December on lower food and transport costs.

Consumer prices rose 3.5 percent from a year earlier, the least since August 2010, compared with a 3.6 percent advance the previous month, the statistics office, based in the capital, Tallinn, said on its website today. That’s in line with the 3.5 percent median estimate in a Bloomberg survey of three analysts. Prices fell 0.1 percent from November.

Declines in oil and food costs slowed last year’s average annual inflation in the newest euro-area member to 3.9 percent from 5 percent in 2011, the statistics office said.

In December, food was 5.4 percent more expensive than a year earlier, compared with 5.8 percent in November. Transport costs increased 0.6 percent from a year earlier last month, down from 1.6 percent in November.

This year, inflation will be temporarily boosted in January by Estonia’s electricity market opening and as state-owned utility AS Eesti Energia starts buying carbon-emission quotas from the market, the central bank said last month. Inflation may be further boosted by large structural unemployment, labor deficit and higher-than-forecast oil prices, the bank said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Ott Ummelas in Tallinn at oummelas@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Balazs Penz at bpenz@bloomberg.net

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