Greek inflation, measured by the consumer price index, fell to 1.3 pct in March compared with the corresponding month in 2008, the National Statistical Service said on Wednesday.

The statistics service said the consumer price index rose 2.0 pct in March from February 2009 and attributed the 1.3 pct annual increase of the index to: a 4.7 pct rise in education prices, a 3.9 pct rise in hotel-coffee-restaurant prices, a 3.4 pct increase in food/beverage prices, a 3.2 pct rise in alcohol and tobacco prices, a 3.1 pct increase in healthcare, a 3.0 pct rise in clothing and footwear and to: 4.1 pct decline in housing prices, a 3.0 pct fall in transport prices and a 0.5 pct decline in communications prices.

Commenting on the figures, Manolis Kontopyrakis, secretary-general of the National Statistical Service, said the March figure reflected mainly a 3.5 pct drop in oil prices and noted that the core inflation was 2.7 pct in March, from 3.6 pct in March 2008. He predicted that the consumer price index would be around March levels in April.

Greece's harmonised inflation rate rose 1.5 pct in March, from March 2008, after an increase of 4.4 pct in March 2008.

 source: (published 10/04/2009)