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Romania December Inflation Unexpectedly Rises Over Targes

Romania’s inflation rate rose more than forecast in December, exceeding the central bank’s 2012 target, on rising food and electricity prices.

The inflation rate rose to 4.95 percent from 4.6 percent in November, the Bucharest-based National Statistics Institute said today in an e-mail. The median estimate of 15 economists surveyed by Bloomberg was 4.6 percent. Prices grew 0.6 percent from the previous month.

Romanian monetary-policy makers kept the benchmark interest rate unchanged at 5.25 percent at the first meeting of this year on Jan. 7 to weigh inflationary pressures against a slowdown in economic growth. The government lowered its 2012 economic-growth forecast yesterday to 0.7 percent from about 1 percent and to 1.8 percent in 2013 from about 2 percent, according to Minister Delegate for Budget Liviu Voinea.

The Banca Nationala a Romaniei targeted inflation of between 2 percent to 4 percent at the end of 2012, from 3.1 percent in 2011 when it met its target for the first time since 2007. The bank forecast inflation at 5.1 percent at the end of December because of a drought-induced increase in food prices. It targets inflation at 2.5 percent plus or minus 1 percentage point in 2013.

Food-cost growth accelerated to 6.2 percent in December from a year earlier on rising vegetable prices, compared with 5.9 percent in November. Inflation for non-food items picked up to 4.5 percent, compared with 3.7 percent in November, on higher electricity prices, according to the report.

Service-price growth slowed to 3.6 percent from a year ago, compared with 4.1 percent in November, as a stronger currency lowered transport, rent and telephone prices gauged in euros, the institute said.

-- With assistance from Barbara Sladkowska in Warsaw. Editor: James M. Gomez

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