French prices up two percent in January
PARIS, Feb 25 (AFP) - French consumer prices were stable in January compared with December but rose by two percent from the figure for the same month a year earlier, figures released Wednesday by the national statistics agency INSEE showed.
Part of the annual increase was due to tobacco prices, which increased by 8.4 percent in January and by 19.4 percent in the last three months.
When tobacco was stripped out, prices fell by 0.2 percent from December to January and rose by 1.4 percent on a 12-month basis.
But the apparent monthly stability masks large sector variations, for example a seasonal jump in the cost of fresh foods, INSEE noted.
Oil prices were also higher, while prices for clothing and footwear fell sharply during traditional winter sales.
An inflation sub-index that eliminates volatile items such as oil, fresh foods and tobacco, remained stable on a one-month basis, while climbing 1.6 percent on the year.
Analysts predict an annual inflation rate this year of between 1.8 and two percent after 2.1 percent in 2003, its highest reading since 1993.
Subject: France news