- 11 Sep 2023 5:06 AM
- Hungary Matters
Food prices were 19.5% higher in August, down from 23.1% in the previous month, while household energy prices increased by 34.7%. Prices in the category of goods that includes vehicle fuel rose by 19.8%.
Prices of spirits and tobacco products increased by 12.7%. Service prices were 13.2% up, slowing from a 14.6% rise in July. Harmonised CPI, adjusted for better comparison with other European Union member states, was 14.2%. Core inflation, which excludes volatile fuel and food prices, was 15.2%. Month on month, consumer prices edged up 0.7%.
Commenting on the data, Márton Nagy, the minister of economic development, said the drop in prices over the past seven months had been largely thanks to government measures such as mandatory price cuts and the online price monitor, and food inflation below 20% was a “milestone” considering its peak of 44.8% in December.
Such measures were still effective in suppressing prices, he said, adding that price competition was now “deadly”.
The slightly higher August inflation 0.4 percentage points above the government forecast was down to high fuel prices, he said.
The price of vehicle fuels has risen significantly, and the reasons why were both international and country-specific, he said in a ministry statement, noting decisions by Russia and Saudi Arabia to cut production as well as higher transit fees.
The minister underlined the government’s target of cutting inflation to single digits by year-end, though, he added, this would “not happen in October”.
Socialists Call on Govt to Get a Grip on Inflation
Today’s Hungarian inflation data give no cause for celebration, an opposition Socialist official said on Friday, calling on the government to “finally get a grip on inflation”.
The Central Statistical Office data show consumer prices in August 16.4% higher than a year earlier, Zoltán Vajda, the chairman of parliament’s budgetary committee, told an online press briefing.
He said the inflation brackets affecting pensioners and low earners in particular were higher than headline inflation, and he blamed this on government economic policymaking.
Hungarian inflation, he added, was the highest in the EU and stood out in a regional comparison, too.
Besides blaming the government for its “failed” financial and economic policies, he said “serious questions must be answered” in connection with the central bank.
The Socialist politician called on the government to reach a quick agreement with the European Commission to unblock the country’s EU funds.
Vajda said that whereas it was realistic to expect inflation to be in the single digits by year-end, the government should aim for a landing zone of 2-4% rather than its loose target.
Full KSH report available here