Romanian Inflation Rate Drops to New Low on Falling Food Prices
The annual rate dropped to 2.4 percent, the lowest in two decades, from 2.6 percent in February, the National Statistics Institute in Bucharest said today by e-mail. The rate matched the median estimate of 2.4 percent of 12 economists surveyed by Bloomberg. Consumer prices grew 0.4 percent in the month.
As inflation slowed to a post-communist low in the eastern European country, policy makers had room to cut the benchmark interest rate four times in a row since November to a record-low 5.25 percent to boost a halting recovery as the economy swings back to a recession during the European sovereign-debt crisis.
Food prices dropped 0.9 percent from a year earlier in March, compared with a 0.4 percent decline in February, the institute said. The prices grew 0.6 percent from a month, mostly because of rising vegetable, fruit and egg prices, as a cold snap disrupted supply chains across the country.
Price growth for non-food items slowed to 3.9 percent from a year earlier, compared with 4.1 percent in February, the institute said. Service-price growth quickened to 5.4 percent from 4.8 percent the previous month, according to the institute.
Romanian industrial output fell a seasonally adjusted 0.6 percent in February, posting a drop for the first time in more than two years, as freezing temperatures and heavy snow cut electricity and disrupted transport, hampering supplies, the Statistics Institute said today in a separate release. Output fell 1.4 percent on the month.
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