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Hungary: inflation plunges to 4.8% in June

11.7.2002 12:42

Hungarian CPI slowed down much more dramatically than the majority of analysts, including us, had forecasted. Thanks to the monthly decline by 0.4%, the y/y change fell to 4.8% y/y from 5.6% in May. The fall in inflation should - at least for the near future - help to calm down worries that the central bank hikes rates further from the current 9.50%. Forint firmed to EUR/HUF 247.50-248.00 after the release.

Similarly to the Czech republic or Slovakia, the decline was led by falling food prices, that plunged 2.3% m/m. The seasonal fall of fruit and vegetable prices came earlier and stronger than expected. In addition, fuel prices declined by 2.5% in June. Although the above two features account for the bulk of the decline, the rest of prices were rather subdued. The only categories, that accelerated in y/y terms, were the leisure and culture prices and alcohol.

Table: CPI development
			06/02	05/02	06/01
CPI m/m			-0,4	 0,5	 0,3
    y/y			 4,8	 5,6	10,5
Core inflation m/m	 0,4	 0,5	 0,7
               y/y	 5,7	 6,0	10,4

In July, we expect that year-on-year CPI will remain unchanged, despite that we count with an increase in fuel prices. If the decline in food prices is not significantly corrected in coming months, the CPI might, after all, manage to finish below the upper end of December 2002 inflation target.

Although the favorable June inflation will probably help to disperse fears of an imminent rate hike, the danged has not disappeared entirely. The central bank said recently that it concentrates on the development of the fiscal policy and the household demand. As the consumer demand will most likely remain too strong, it might endanger the development of inflation in the future. Therefore we still cannot exclude further monetary tightening this year.

Jakub Dvorak, Investment Research, CSOB

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