Bulgaria annual inflation reaches 12.4% in March, highest since July 2008

Bulgaria’s annual consumer price index (CPI) recorded 12.4 per cent inflation in March 2022, up from 10 per cent a month earlier, data released by the National Statistical Institute (NSI) on April 19 showed.

This was the highest year-on-year increase in consumer prices since July 2008, when it was 14.5 per cent, with the sharp increase recorded in the past year showing no sign of abating. In March 2021, year-on-year CPI inflation was 0.7 per cent.

Monthly inflation in March was 2.2 per cent, compared to 1.4 per cent recorded in February. This was the highest monthly inflation recorded in Bulgaria since August 2007, when the figure was 3.1 per cent.

Food prices in March were 3.2 per cent higher compared to the previous month, while non-food prices rose by 2.6 per cent and services prices increased by 0.5 per cent.

Compared to March 2021, food prices were 16.9 per cent higher, while non-food and services prices rose by 12.4 per cent and 6.9 per cent, respectively.

The harmonised CPI figure, calculated by NSI for comparison with European Union data, rose by 2.1 per cent on a monthly basis in March, while the annual harmonised CPI inflation was 10.5 per cent.

This was the highest year-on-year increase in the harmonised CPI since October 2008, when the figure was 11.2 per cent. The monthly harmonised CPI inflation was also the highest since August 2007, when the figure was 2.2 per cent.

Food and beverage prices were 16.5 per cent higher, on an annual basis, while the price of utilities and housing increased by 13.3 per cent and transportation costs were 20.8 per cent higher compared to March 2021. The three categories account for about 48.5 per cent of the harmonised CPI basket.

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 three per cent of the total CPI and harmonised CPI, compared to three per cent a month earlier.

(Consumer price index changes since March 2021. Bars illustrate the annual CPI and lines show the monthly CPI. Graphic: NSI)

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