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CPI edges over 20 percent in September

Consumer prices in Hungary rose by an annual 20.1 percent in September, accelerating from a 15.6 percent increase in the previous month, driven by higher food and household energy prices, the Central Statistical Office (KSH) said on Tuesday.

Food prices rose by 35.2 percent as the price of bread jumped 76.2 percent, pork prices climbed 22.4 percent and dairy products were 66.3 percent dearer.

The government rolled back prices for a number of staples, including pork, cooking oil and flour, to mid-October levels from February 1 in an effort to dampen inflation.

Household energy prices increased by 62.1 percent, lifted by new consumption restrictions for regulated utilities prices in force from August 1. Gas prices rose by 121.0 percent and electricity prices climbed 28.9 percent.

The data show consumer durable prices increased by 14.7 percent.

Prices in the category of goods that includes vehicle fuel rose by 12.9 percent.

The government has capped prices at the pump at 480 forints per litre for both petrol and diesel since November 15. Vehicles with foreign number plates were earlier excluded from the measure, and from late July, corporate vehicles registered in Hungary also became ineligible.

Prices of spirits and tobacco products increased by 13.2 percent and clothing prices rose by 6.7 percent.

Harmonised CPI, adjusted for better comparison with other European Union member states, was 20.7 percent. The bigger than usual difference between the harmonised figure and headline inflation, KSH said, was due to higher prices at the pump for foreign motorists who have had to pay market prices for motor fuel since late May.

Core inflation, which excludes volatile fuel and food prices, was 20.7 percent.

CPI calculated with a basket of goods and services used by pensioners was 21.9 percent.

In a month-on-month comparison, CPI was 4.1 percent.

The National Bank of Hungary (NBH) had said CPI would continue to climb for the rest of 2022 in its latest quarterly Inflation Report released in September. Central bank director Andras Balatoni had said the increase would be “front-loaded”, with most showing up in September CPI, followed by increases “at a slower pace” in the following months.

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