Bulgaria annual inflation falls to 16% in February

Bulgaria’s annual consumer price index (CPI) recorded 16 per cent inflation in February 2023, down from 16.7 per cent a month earlier, the National Statistical Institute (NSI) said on March 15.

It was the fourth drop in annual inflation recorded in five months, but the decrease has been slow since year-on-year CPI inflation peaked at a 24-year high of 18.7 per cent in November.

Additionally, NSI data indicated that the statistics body increased its earlier year-on-year figure reported for January, having initially said last month that annual inflation was 16.4 per cent.

NSI said in its statement that the January data was final, but gave no explanation for the significant increase in the monthly and annual inflation figures. It also revised the monthly inflation in January upwards to 1.4 per cent, from 1.1 per cent reported earlier.

Monthly inflation in February was 0.8 per cent, the lowest in the past year, according to NSI data.

Food prices in February were up 2.3 per cent compared to the previous month, while non-food prices were down 0.1 per cent and services prices were unchanged.

Compared to February 2022, food prices were 23.5 per cent higher, while non-food and services prices rose by 13 per cent and 10.2 per cent, respectively.

The harmonised CPI figure, calculated by NSI for comparison with European Union data, rose by 0.7 per cent on a monthly basis in February, while the annual harmonised CPI inflation was 13.7 per cent, down from 14.3 per cent a month earlier. The January harmonised inflation figure had also been revised upward, with NSI initially reporting 14.1 per cent last month.

Food and beverage prices were 24.2 per cent higher in February, on an annual basis, while the price of utilities and housing increased by 15.9 per cent and transportation costs were 8.1 per cent higher compared to February 2022. The three categories account for 48.9 per cent of the harmonised CPI basket.

(Consumer price index changes since February 2022. Bars illustrate the annual CPI inflation and lines show the monthly CPI inflation. Graphic: NSI)

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