Bulgaria annual inflation hits four-year low 0.1% in 2020

Bulgaria’s annual consumer price index (CPI) recorded 0.1 per cent inflation in December 2020, data released by the National Statistical Institute (NSI) on January 18 showed.

This was the lowest year-on-year increase in consumer prices since December 2016 and marked a sharp drop over the course of 2020, which began with Bulgaria’s annual CPI at a seven-year high of 4.1 per cent.

Monthly CPI inflation in December was 0.5 per cent, the sixth time that the monthly CPI figure showed an increase during the year, with deflation recorded five times in 2020 and one month of zero growth.

Beyond the Covid-19 pandemic’s impact on the inflation indicator, it limited NSI’s ability to collect the data, with the statistics body saying that it had to extrapolate about seven per cent of the total consumer price index.

In recent months, such missing data accounted for only one or two per cent of the total, but December 2020 saw Bulgaria impose stricter restrictions to curb the rising number of cases.

The amount of data NSI had to extrapolate in December was lower than during the State of Emergency in March and April 2020, when missing data was 24 per cent and 32 per cent, respectively.

Food and non-food prices were 0.2 per cent lower in December compared to the previous month, while services prices were up 2.2 per cent. Compared to December 2019, food prices were 1.9 per cent higher, while non-food prices fell by 3.1 per cent and services prices rose by 1.4 per cent.

The harmonised CPI figure, calculated by NSI for comparison with European Union data, recorded 0.5 per cent inflation in December, while the annual harmonised CPI was unchanged from December 2019.

Food and beverage prices were two per cent up, on an annual basis, while the price of utilities and housing increased by one per cent and transportation costs were six per cent lower compared to 2019. The three categories account for about 48.2 per cent of the harmonised CPI basket.

(Illustration: svilen001/sxc.hu)

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