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Land tax hike drives inflation increase

Rent rise: a change to land tax rates was one of the main drivers of a rise in the cost of living

July’s rate of inflation jumped to the highest level since January as an increase in land tax and electricity bills pushed the cost of living higher.

Consumers paid 1.6 per cent more in July 2016 than they did a year before for the basket of goods and services included in the Consumer Price Index, the Department of Statistics said today.

The level of inflation rose 0.8 percentage points from the 0.8 per cent measured in June 2016.

The biggest driver of the increase was the rent sector, in which prices rose 1.4 per cent, due primarily to changes in land tax that resulted in residents paying more on average.

Electricity bills climbed as the fuel adjustment rate rose for the first time in 12 months, resulting in a 4.3 per cent increase in fuel and power costs.

The food sector edged up 0.3 per cent in July following on from its 0.2 per cent rise in June. Key contributors to the increase were fresh oranges, up 4.3 per cent, eggs, up 3.4 per cent, and tinned soup, up 2.5 per cent.

Transport and foreign travel also cost 2.5 per cent more, as the average cost of air fares shot up 13.9 per cent from the month before. Average prices at the pump fell 2.1 per cent from June, however.

The basket of goods and services that cost $100 in April 2015 now costs $102.20.