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Italy's Inflation Accelerates Unexpectedly In March

Italy's inflation accelerated unexpectedly to reach a five-month high in March, preliminary estimates from the statistical office Istat showed Friday.

Inflation, measured by the harmonized index of consumer prices, rose to 3.8 percent in March from 3.4 percent in February. Economists expected the rate to ease to 3.3 percent.

Month-on-month, HICP rose 2.5 percent compared to 0.2 percent rise in the preceding month. Economists expected a 2 percent increase. The monthly increase in prices can largely be attributed to seasonal factors, the statistical office said.

The consumer price inflation remained stable at 3.3 percent against economists' expectations for a slowdown to 3.2 percent. On a monthly basis, the consumer price index rose 0.5 percent while expectations were for a 0.3 percent increase.

Prices of non-regulated energy goods rose 3 percent annually, while costs of tobacco increased 1.6 percent. These price changes had an major impact on the overall price index, it said.

by RTT Staff Writer

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