Near-ubiquitous inflationary pressures
Several factors are working together to push inflation upwards at present, and it is impossible to blame the deviation between forecasts and SI’s measurements on anything in particular. For instance, various goods that had been on sale in January rose sharply in price this month. Among them are furniture and housewares, up 8.7% (0.53% CPI effect), and recreation and culture, with price hikes on computers, television sets, and such items weighing heaviest in the 1.5% MoM spike in the component as a whole (0.14% CPI effect). Clothing and footwear prices surged as well, with a MoM increase of 6.8% (0.21%). It is not yet obvious whether these items rose primarily because of early end-of-sale effects or whether new products were simply that much more expensive than those put on sale in January.
Food and beverage prices rose by 1.9% during the month (0.3%), on the heels of a 2% jump in January, with the February increase drive mainly by imported food prices. In addition to these, health-related CPI items rose by 1.5% (0.05%), and the price of hotel and restaurant services increased 1.3% (0.07%).
House prices put the brakes on inflation for a change
In a radical shift from the recent situation, house prices held the CPI increase in check this month. According to SI’s data, the market price of housing fell by 0.5% since the last measurement. That said, imputed rent inched upwards in February (0.02% CPI effect), owing to the interest component, which is based on indexed mortgage lending rates. Those rates have climbed steadily in the past year.