Drop in consumer prices accelerates slightly in May

People buy vegetables at a supermarket in Beirut. (The Daily Star/Mohammad Azakir)

BEIRUT: The decline in consumer prices accelerated slightly in May, according to the latest statistics from Lebanon’s Central Administration of Statistics.

Lebanon’s Consumer Price Index, published Monday, showed a 0.3 percent decline in May, compared with 0.1 percent the previous month. May’s results bring overall inflation since the beginning of the year down to 1.32 percent.

Because statistics were not collected from January to May 2013, it will not be not possible to calculate the year-on-year increase in Lebanon’s cost of living until the June figures are published. The country launched a new, expanded CPI in March, after consulting with the International Monetary Fund to produce a more accurate picture of the average Lebanese household’s expenses.

Food and nonalcoholic beverages led the decline, dropping 2.2 percent, while health care and transportation prices increased by 0.8 and 0.6 percent, respectively.

Regionally, the Beirut subindex mirrored the national one, while the south and Mount Lebanon saw a smaller decline of 0.2 percent. North Lebanon fell by 0.6 percent, and the Bekaa Valley’s subindex was flat.

The Nabatieh subindex increased by 0.2 percent, largely driven by a 3.5 percent jump in restaurant and hotel prices, compared with a 0.1 percent increase nationally in that sector.

Nationally, communication prices dropped 0.2 percent, a trend that is likely to increase as firms implement new prices set by Telecoms Minister Boutros Harb. The price of calls was lowered in May, while new land line and mobile phone Internet plans are set to go into effect July 1.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on June 25, 2014, on page 5.




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