Joan Collins
THE Consumer Price Index (CPI) grew by five decimal points in May compared with April, one decimal point more than the national average, taking the interannual (last 12 months) figure to four percent in the islands, according to figures released yesterday by the National Institute of Statistics (INE). The Balearics was the fourth autonomous region where prices rose most in May, behind the rise of six decimal points in the Canaries, Navarra and La Rioja, although it remains one of the autonomous regions with the least year on year inflation, equal to the national average. The rise in prices in the Balearics in May came from the 2.2 percent rise in clothes and shoes during the spring season, although the cost of transport, uncharacteristically, rose by 1.2 percent because of the continuing rise in the price of a barrel of crude oil. This last sector has already had a rise of 5.6 percent in the Balearics during the first five months of 2006 in comparison with the same period last year (one decimal point more that the national average) and reached an interannual rise of 8.2 percent in comparison with 7.1 percent in April. The rest of the monthly rises come from household goods (0.8 percent); food and non alcoholic drinks (0.4 percent); others (0.3 percent); housing (0.3 percent) and medicine (0.2 percent). On the other hand, prices fell by 0.5 percent in the leisure and culture sectors, and by 0.1 percent in the hotel, cafe and restaurant sectors, while prices remained stable in teaching and communications. In interannual terms, in addition to the sharp rise in transport, the price of housing also rose in the islands by 6.7 percent, food and non alcoholic drinks by 4.1 percent, teaching by 4 percent and household goods by 3.5 percent. Prices rose slightly less in the “other products” category (3.4 percent); hotels, cafes and restaurants (2.9 percent); alcoholic drinks and tobacco (2.1 percent); medicines (1.2 percent); and clothes and shoes (1 percent). Prices fell in the communications sector (-0.8 percent) and leisure and culture (-0.1 percent). In the first five months of the year, the highest rise in price after transport was housing (4.5 percent), then others (2.6 percent), household goods (2.1 percent), food and non alcoholic drinks (1.8 percent), leisure and culture (1.6 percent) and hotels, cafes and restaurants (1.5 percent). Again during the first five months of the year, prices fell in the following areas: clothes and shoes (-0.7) percent as the Winter sales continued into January; leisure and culture (-2.6 percent); and communications (-0.3 percent). Throughout the whole of Spain, underlying inflation (which doesn't include energy prices or the price of non manufactured food) rose by 0.2 percent in May, but the annual figures fell by one decimal point to 3 percent, making the difference between that and the general index one decimal point more. In May, the national average inflation rise of four decimal points compared to April was due, mainly, to the rise of 1.1 percent in the cost of transport because of the rise in the price of fuel and lubricants, and to the increase of 1.2 percent in clothes and shoes, which reflects the trend of prices at the beginning of the Spring-Summer season. Food and non alcoholic drinks had a rise of 0.2 percent because of the rise in the price of poultry and potatoes and potato products, which partly balances the drop in the price of fresh and frozen fish and fresh fruit.

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