Inflation of the first quarter 2024 in OECD countries, the EU and the Western Balkans

Inflation of the first quarter 2024 in OECD countries, the EU and the Western Balkans

Year-on-year inflation in the OECD as measured by the Consumer Price Index (CPI) remained broadly stable at 5.8% in March 2024, after 5.7% in February (Figures 1 and 2). Headline inflation fell in 19 OECD countries with the largest monthly decline recorded in the Slovak Republic. It was highest in Turkey (still above 60%) while it was below 2.0% in seven OECD countries.

In March 2024, OECD energy inflation was positive for the first time since April 2023, at 0.6%. Energy inflation rose in 28 OECD countries, 12 of which remained in negative energy inflation as prices fell more slowly, including the United Kingdom, Italy and the United States. Food inflation in the OECD fell further, reaching 4.9% in March after 5.3% in February, with declines in 34 OECD countries. OECD core inflation (inflation less food and energy) was steady at 6.4% in March. Decreases in core inflation of 0.2 percentage points or more were recorded in 16 OECD countries, increases of 0.2 percentage points or more in 6 OECD countries.

Year-on-year inflation in the G7 rose slightly to 3.1% in March after 2.9% in February. Food inflation fell, while energy inflation increased, but remained negative. Core inflation was stable. Headline inflation fell in France and Germany, reaching the lowest level since, respectively, September and May 2021. Conversely, it rose in Italy, where the fall in energy prices slowed significantly, and in the United States, where inflation of food increased. Core inflation was the main contributor to headline inflation in all G7 countries (Figure 3).

In the eurozone, year-on-year inflation as measured by the Harmonized Index of Consumer Prices (HICP) fell slightly to 2.4% in March, compared to 2.6% in February. Food inflation fell by more than one percentage point, reaching 2.0%. Core inflation fell for the eighth consecutive month, although it remained above 2.0%. In April 2024, according to Eurostat’s flash estimate, year-on-year inflation was stable in the euro area, with a further decline in core inflation and an increase in energy inflation, which remains negative.

In the G20, year-on-year inflation was steady at 6.9% in March. Headline inflation decreased in Brazil, China, Saudi Arabia and South Africa, while it rose in Indonesia and jumped further in Argentina.

In Serbia, inflation falls to the lowest level in two years in March

Inflation eased to 5.0% in March from 5.6% in February. The March result represented the lowest rate of inflation since August 2021. The moderation was broad-based, with reduced price pressures recorded for food and non-alcoholic beverages, transport and housing, and utilities. In addition, prices for restaurants and hotels increased at a lower rate.

Average annual inflation fell to 9.8% in March (February: 10.7%). Meanwhile, core inflation fell to 5.0% in March, from 5.2% the previous month.

Albania’s inflation eased to 2.1% year-on-year in April 2024, from 2.3% in March, marking the lowest inflation since June 2021. Prices slowed for food and non-alcoholic beverages (1.5% vs. 2% in March 2024 ). housing and utilities (2.3% vs. 2.4%), health (1.7% vs. 1.9%), hotels and restaurants (3.2% vs. 3.5%), and miscellaneous goods and services (2.7% vs. 3.3%). On the other hand, prices accelerated for transport (1% vs. -0.3%) and entertainment and culture (4.4% vs. 3.8%). On a monthly basis, consumer prices deflated by 0.2%, after an increase of 0.4% in March.

The consumer price index in Bosnia and Herzegovina decreased to 2% in March 2024 from 2.1% in the previous month, mainly due to slower growth in the cost of other goods and services (6.5% vs. 8.1%), entertainment and culture (4.3% vs. 4.4%), alcoholic beverages and tobacco (3.8% vs. 4.6%) and food and non-alcoholic beverages (1.2% vs. 2.1%). Also, deflation continued for clothing-shoes (-6.6% versus -6.4%). In contrast, prices rose more for restaurants and hotels (8.4% vs. 8%), household furnishings and appliances (3.6% vs. 3.2%), and health (3.2% vs. 2.7%). On a monthly basis, consumer prices rose by 0.3%, following a 0.5% increase in February.

The MoM (month-on-month) inflation rate in Bosnia and Herzegovina averaged 0.21 percent from 2005 to 2024, reaching an all-time high of 4.00 percent in January 2006 and a record low of -1.60 percent in April 2020.

The annual inflation rate in Kosovo increased to 2.4% in April 2024 from 2.3% in March 2024, mainly due to faster increases in the cost of alcoholic beverages and tobacco (6.1% vs. 5.2%) and food and non-alcoholic beverages. 2.2% vs. 1.6%), Also, price growth resumed for transport (1.1% vs. -0.5%), but slowed down for housing and utilities (4.1% vs. 7.8%) and clothing and footwear (2.9% vs. 4.2%). ). On a monthly basis, consumer prices advanced by 0.1% in April, following a 0.3% decline in the previous period.

The annual inflation rate in North Macedonia was 4% in April 2024, the highest in six months, unchanged from the previous month. Prices accelerated further for various goods and services (5.7% vs. 4.7% in March); food and soft drinks (4.7% vs. 3.5%) and communication (3.6% vs. 1.8%). Meanwhile, there was a slowdown in several CPI categories, including alcoholic beverages and tobacco (5.8% vs. 11.5%); clothing and footwear (3.2% vs. 4.6%); household furniture and appliances (3.9% vs. 4.7%); transportation (2.3% vs. 3.7%) and recreation and culture (3.1% vs. 4.8%). On a monthly basis, consumer prices increased by 0.7% in April, after increasing by 0.9% in the previous month.

Montenegro’s annual inflation rate eased slightly to 5.4% in April 2024 from a five-month high of 5.5% a month earlier. Prices moderated for food and non-alcoholic beverages (3.4% vs. 4.2% in March), recreation and culture (4.3% vs. 5%), clothing and footwear (11.3% vs. 11.9%) and restaurants and hotels (13.2% vs. 13.5%) %). Meanwhile, costs rose faster for alcoholic beverages and tobacco (4.1% vs. 4%), housing services (7.1% vs. 6.7%) and transportation (3.7% vs. 2.2%). On a monthly basis, consumer prices rose 0.1% in April, slowing from a 0.5% increase in the previous month.

Inflation was on a downward trend until February 2024, but rose again to 5.5 percent year-on-year in March, mainly due to the expiration of the effects of previous anti-inflationary measures, which had included price cuts on about 150 products .

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