Consumer prices fall 1% in December as fuel, clothing costs decline

Prices fall for medical and dental services, eating out and package holidays

Photograph: iStock

Photograph: iStock


Consumer prices declined by 1 per cent in the year to December as the cost of clothing, furniture and fuel all fell.

That was offset by rises in the prices of medical and dental services, eating out and package holidays.

The figures from the Central Statistics Office showed a 7.8 per cent fall in the cost of clothing and footwear, attributed to sales, while transport costs were dragged lower by a fall in prices for diesel and petrol.

The cost of furnishings, household equipment and maintenance fell almost 4 per cent in the year to December, with a reduction in the price of home heating oil, lower rents and a fall in the cost of natural gas contributing to the decline. That was partially offset by an increase in the cost of electricity and higher mortgage interest repayments.

Higher airfares

On a monthly basis, consumer prices rose 0.3 per cent compared with November, fuelled by a rise in the cost of restaurants and hotels, as accommodation prices climbed, and transport costs increased due to higher airfares.

When tobacco was excluded from the indes, prices were down 1.1 per cent over the year and up 0.2 per cent month on month. Excluding mortgage interest pushed the index to a 1.1 per cent annual decline and an increase of 0.3 per cent over the year.

The cost of services increased 1 per cent over the year, while goods decreased by 3.9 per cent. Excluding mortgage interest repayments, the services index showed a 0.9 per cent increase over the year.

Prices measured by the EU Harmonised Index of Consumer Prices (HICP), decreased by 1.0 per cent compared with December 2019, and rose 0.2 per cent compared with November.

Over the year, the annual average inflation for consumer prices was 0.3 per cent down from a rise of 0.9 per cent for 2019 and an increase of 0.5 per cent for 2018.