Inflation rate down again in March

The Dutch inflation rate in March 2002 fell to 3.6%, down 0.2% on February. The drop was caused mainly by the positive developments of food prices in March this year compared to March 2001.

Car fuels, however, drove prices up again this month, according to the latest consumer price index figures by Statistics Netherlands.

The Dutch inflation rate for March according to the European harmonised index also fell by 0.2% reaching 4.3%.

Inflation down mainly because of modest food price increases
The lower inflation rate is the result of two opposite developments. On the one hand there was considerably less inflationary pressure from food and non-alcoholic beverages, but on the other hand the price developments in car fuels put the pressure on again in March.

Fresh vegetables were 23% more expensive in February this year than a year ago. The difference was in March was down to 8% mainly because fresh vegetable prices went up substantially in March 2001.

A slight price decrease was observed for meat, whereas meat prices had gone up fairly much in March last year. This is why the year-on-year price increase in meat fell from 6 to 3%. The year-on-year price increase for fresh fruit fell from 19 to 14%. Car fuels on the other hand caused some extra inflationary pressure. After a price rise of more than 3% in March this year car fuels were still 2% cheaper than in March a year ago, but in February the difference was 6%.

March prices up by 0.9%
March on February price rises averaged 0.9%. For the most part the increase can be attributed to higher prices for shoes and clothing. These are not unusual for March, when the summer collection replaces the last of the winter clothes in the shops. Car fuels also became more expensive in March, as did CDs and margarine.

(source: Statistics Netherlands/Eurostat)

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