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Inflation in Serbia drops to 5.6% in February, prices of food and non-alcoholic beverages up by 0.4%

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In February, Serbia experienced a decline in inflation, dropping from 6.4 percent in January to 5.6 percent compared to the same month last year, as reported by the Republic Statistical Office.

The average prices of personal consumption products and services increased by 0.6 percent in February 2024 compared to January 2024.

Consumer prices in February 2024, compared to the same month of the previous year, rose by 5.6 percent, with a 0.9 percent average increase compared to December 2023.

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Examining the main groups of products and services based on consumption purposes, February 2024 saw price growth in Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco (2.0 percent), Transport (1.9 percent), Restaurants and Hotels (1.0 percent), Food and Non-Alcoholic Beverages, and Health (0.4 percent each). In Housing, Water, Electricity, Gas, and Other Fuels, as well as Equipment for the Apartment and Ongoing Maintenance, a 0.2 percent increase was noted. Prices decreased in the Clothing and Footwear (-1.1 percent) and Communications (-0.1 percent) groups.

The National Bank highlighted a slowdown in the growth of food prices and prices within the base inflation, contributing to the overall reduction in inflation. Monthly inflation in February reached 0.6 percent, mainly driven by increased prices of oil derivatives and the regular adjustment of cigarette prices due to higher excise taxes.

Food and non-alcoholic beverage prices were 0.4 percent higher on a monthly basis, with processed food prices increasing by 0.5 percent. Prices of fresh vegetables increased by 2.9 percent, which, according to the National Bank, is lower than the usual seasonal trends for this period, while fresh meat prices decreased compared to January.

On a year-on-year basis, food prices rose by 4.7 percent compared to February of the previous year. Energy product prices increased by 1.5 percent monthly, and the year-on-year increase in energy product prices in February was 7.7 percent.

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Within base inflation, product and service prices increased by 0.2 percent compared to January, driven by increased prices in certain services, specifically utilities and catering. Year-on-year, core inflation slowed down to 5.2 percent.

The National Bank of Serbia anticipates a continued year-on-year reduction in inflation in the coming period. According to the central bank’s expectations, inflation is projected to return to the target range in the middle of the year and approach the central value of the 3.0 percent target by the end of the year. Contributing factors include the effects of previous monetary tightening, global cost pressure weakening, a slowdown in imported inflation, and an expected further decline in inflationary expectations.

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