Staff Reporter
INFLATION in the Balearics is currently below the national average, standing at 1.9 percent for the March 2003-March 2004 period, compared to 2.1 percent for Spain as a whole. Inflation in March was 0.6 percent, slightly below the national average of 0.7 percent.
According to the figures supplied by the National Institute of Statistics (INE), the biggest price increases were in footwear and clothing, up by 1.7 percent and coinciding with the end of the winter sales. However, in the first three months of the year, prices dropped by 7.6 percent, and the increase over the March-March period shows an increase of only 0.8 percent. Transport went up by one percent in March, hotels by 0.9 percent, food and non-alcoholic beverages, housing, leisure and culture went up by 0.6 percent each. The prices of alcoholic drinks, tobacco, education and “others” remained stable, and there was an 0.1 percent drop in communications.
Referring to the first three months of the year, transport, education, “others” and housing went up slightly, and footwear and clothing, medicine, leisure, culture and communications went down. Education is the sector which has suffered most over the past 12 months, with a 4.3 percent increase, followed by hotels (4.2 percent).
Prices went down in communications by 1.1 percent, transport (0.4 percent) and household goods (0.2 percent).
Other parts of Spain did not fare as well as the Balearics in March, with Andalucia, Castilla-La Mancha and Murcia, and Ceuta, reporting an 0.8 percent increase, slightly above the national average. In Melilla, the increase was 1.2 percent.
Inflation matching the national average of 0.7 percent was recorded in Aragon, Cantabria, Castilla-Leon, Catalonia, Valencia, Galicia, Madrid, Navarre and the Basque Country. Regions where inflation was below the national average, in addition to the Balerics, were Asturias and Extremadura (0.6 percent), the Canary Islands (0.5 percent) and La Rioja (0.4 percent). The accumulated rate for the first three months of the year was negative in eight communities, particularly La Rioja and Cantabria (-0.6 percent) and Navarre (-0.5 percent), did not vary in Andalucia and Castilla-La Mancha and went up the most in Madrid (0.3 percent). The regions with the highest rate of inflation over the previous 12 months were Murcia and Catalonia with 2.5 percent each, Melilla with 2.7 percent and Ceuta with 2.9 percent. Prices went up the least in the Canary Islands (1.4 percent), and Aragon, Cantabria, Castilla-Leon and Extremadura.

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