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Inflation on downward trend

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Inflation averaged 1 per cent last year — the lowest annual average rate in the increase in the cost of living in more than a decade.

The revelation came in the Consumer Price Index, released by the Department of Statistics today, which showed that the December inflation rate fell to 0.5 per cent, down 0.4 of a percentage point from November.

The health and personal care sector was the largest contributor to the year-over-year change, increasing 4.1 per cent, driven by the higher cost of health insurance premiums.

Food prices rose 2.6 per cent year over year, while tobacco and liquor prices were up 3.7 per cent.

The CPI's all-items index stood at 105.4 in December. This means that the basket of goods and services that cost $100 in April 2015 now costs $105.40.

The month-to-month analysis showed that prices of many goods and services fell between November and December last year.

Fuel and power prices fell 1.5 per cent, as the fuel adjustment clause fell 4.5 per cent in December.

Transport and foreign travel prices dipped 2.8 per cent, driven by a 10.7 per cent dip in airfares, a 3.7 per cent fall in overseas hotels, while overseas car rentals fell were down 1.7 per cent.

Food prices fell 0.1 per cent from November, with cookies (down 11.3 per cent), flour (down 3.4 per cent) and mayonnaise (down 3.1 per cent), some of the items to see price declines.

Rent prices remained static, after three successive monthly falls.

Cost of living increases: inflation hit a more than decade low in 2019 (Graph by Jonathan Kent/data from the Department of Statistics)

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Published February 21, 2020 at 7:00 am (Updated February 21, 2020 at 2:10 pm)

Inflation on downward trend

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