Inflation rate steady at 1.2% in January - CSO

Thursday 21 February 2013 17.26
Prices of clothing and footwear dropped 11% in January
Prices of clothing and footwear dropped 11% in January

The annual rate of inflation stood at 1.2% in January, unchanged from the December reading.

New figures from the Central Statistics Office show that consumer prices fell by 0.5% in the month, which compared to a fall of 0.5% the same time last year.

The CSO said that the price of clothing and footwear dropped 11% due to the traditional winter sales.

Household equipment and ''routine household maintenance'' prices were also lower due to sales.

Lower prices for car insurance premiums were also noted last month.

Alcohol and tobacco prices rose by 5.4% on the back of a recovery in prices for wine, spirits and beer sold in off-licences and supermarkets, while health costs increased by 1% due to an increase in the price of prescribed drugs.

The CSO said that the annual rate of inflation for services was 1.7% in the year to January, while goods rose by 0.6%.

Today's figures also show that the EU Harmonised Index of Consumer Prices fell by 0.67% in the month, compared with a fall of 0.4% the same time last year. Prices on average, as measured by the HICP, were 1.5% higher last month.

Merrion economic Alan McQuaid said that domestic inflationary pressures in Ireland are likely to remain depressed for some time to come.

''The fiscal measures announced in Budget 2013 will again hit disposable incomes, which in turn will weigh negatively on spending power. However, indirect tax hikes will add to the CPI in the coming months, but in overall terms it is very much a picture of subdued price pressures, which will help ease the pain to some degree on the household sector,'' he said.

The economist said that the main risk on the inflation front this year will once more come from the external side, and in particular the price of energy on the global market.

Annual manufacturing prices down 0.4% in January

Separate figures from the CSO today show that monthly factory gate prices fell by 0.3% in January. This compares to an increase of 1.4% the same time last year.

The CSO said that as a result, the annual percentage change showed a fall of 0.4% in January compared to an increase of 1.3% in the year to December.

The biggest changes in the month were increases in dairy products, which rose 5.2%, machinery and equipment, which gained 1.2% and meat and meat products (up 0.5%). Decreases were seen in computer, electronic and optical products, food products including bread and confectionary and basic pharmaceutical products.

Today's figures also reveal that the price of energy products rose by 0.8% in the year since January 2012, while petroleum fuels decreased by 1.8%. The monthly price index for energy products rose by 0.5% last month, while petroleum fuels rose by 1.4%.