Fuel costs soar
The inflation rate dropped back below three percent in December, as food prices fell.
The Consumer Price Index (CPI), released by the Department of Statistics on Friday, showed consumers paid 2.9 percent more for specified goods and services in December than they did a year earlier. This marked a slight fall from the 3.1 percent inflation rate recorded in November.
The 1.4 percent fall in food prices between November and December was a factor in the easing of the annual inflation rate.
The report highlighted decreases in the price of red grapes (down 18 percent), spare ribs (down 14.2 percent) and roasting chickens (down 9.4 percent).
However, food prices were still three percent higher, year over year.
The biggest drivers of the increase in the cost of living remained healthcare and energy costs.
Prices in the health and personal care sector were seven percent higher than a year earlier, while fuel costs soared 13.4 percent and power bills rose three percent.
The month-to-month analysis, however, showed inflationary pressures easing, with no change in fuel and power costs from November, and a 0.1 percent fall in health and personal care costs.
The transport and vehicles sector experienced a 0.5 percent monthly rise, reflecting a 6.5 percent increase in hotel accommodations, although air fares fell 2.2 percent and the cost of fuel dropped 1.8 percent.