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The January 6% inflation print was well above the 5.4% market consensus and even our 5.8% call, the highest in recent polls.
The acceleration from 5% inflation posted in December is chiefly driven by regulated price hikes and the strongest contribution comes from a 10% electricity price increase.
The fact that inflation came in stronger than we expected is bad news for the growth outlook as we think the accelerating inflation is the largest headwind to this years growth. We expect consumer price growth to average 5.4% this year vs 3.3% posted in the previous year while the wage growth in the private sector could soften to 3.7% from 4.4% averaged in 2012.
It does not change the near-term monetary policy outlook by a significant extent as CORE3 inflation actually softened from the previous month, to 3.2% from 3.3% previously.
Volatile food prices continued to drive higher, with most of the details of the report showing price increases slightly above our expectations. Fruit and vegetable prices have accelerated to 16% and 28% respectively in annual terms. Over the past three years these have averaged growth of around 5%.
Processed food price growth is somewhat tamer but still above their averages. Meat products are 5.6% more expensive in annual terms, well above the 2.6% three year historical average, while milk and dairy products prices are 3.4% stronger vs a 2.9% historical average. The rapid growth of unprocessed food prices will eventually push processed prices higher, especially given the planned energy price hikes and heavier tax burden levied on the agricultural sector.
We project inflation will end this year at 4.6%, well above the 3% upper bound of the 1ppt range around the central banks inflation target.
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Povezane vesti na srpskom
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