Consumer price inflation in Armenia has remained below the government’s maximum target rate so far this year after steadily decreasing in the second half of 2011, according to official statistics.
The National Statistical Service (NSS) recorded a year-on-year inflation rate of 3 percent last month, sharply down from 12.4 percent in the year-earlier period.
According to the government agency, consumer prices steadily fell after February 2011, bringing the inflation rate down to 4.7 percent in December. The figure was within the Armenian authorities’ 2011 target band of 4 percent (±1.5 percentage points).
The government and the Central Bank of Armenia set the same inflation target for 2012. In a statement issued after a January meeting of its governing board, the Central Bank noted that external inflationary pressures on the Armenian economy will remain “weak” in the months ahead because of sluggish global growth.
Nevertheless, the bank avoided cutting its benchmark refinancing rate, which has stood at 8 percent since September. As part of its earlier anti-inflationary measures, it raised the minimum cost of borrowing in Armenia by a total of 1.25 percentage points in February-April.
The NSS data shows that food prices rose more slowly than the cost of other goods in February. The food price index, which has increased markedly in recent years, was down by almost 2 percent from the January 2012 level.
Still, the prices of some foodstuffs such as meat have risen by over 10 percent year on year. NSS reported even steeper rises in fuel prices.