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Hungary’s average inflation for 2023 rises to 17.6 pct

Hungary’s annual average inflation rate reached 17.6 percent in 2023, up from 14.5 percent in 2022, the country’s Central Statistical Office (KSH) said on Friday.

The figure significantly exceeded the National Bank of Hungary’s official target of 3.0 percentage points for 2023.

The highest price increases over the last 12 months were observed in food prices, household energy, and fuels, the KSH reported.

“In 2023, compared to the previous year, food prices saw the highest increase at 25.9 percent. Electricity, gas, and other fuels rose by 22.1 percent, while other goods, including motor fuels and lubricants, increased by 18.6 percent. Alcoholic beverages and tobacco prices rose by 15.4 percent, and services by 13.2 percent,” the KSH said.

However, consumer prices in December 2023 were 5.5 percent higher on average than in the previous year, staying below the expectations of analysts who had projected around 6 percent.

On a monthly basis, consumer prices decreased by an average of 0.3 percent in December compared to November.

Local business portal Portfolio described the inflation figure as a “surprise,” noting that it was the lowest inflation rate measured since June 2021.

Hungary’s consumer price index peaked in January 2023 at 25.7 percent, the highest in the country since 1996, and also the highest level within the EU until October 2023.

Portfolio mentioned that two main factors influenced the accelerating decline of Hungarian inflation — the base effect, namely the fading impact of large food and energy price shocks from the annual price increase index, and the decline in consumption, which also reduced the ability of traders and service providers to raise prices. ■

Famagusta Gazette