Italy records annual deflation for the first time since 1959

Rome, Jan 4 (IANS/AKI) Consumer prices fell in Italy last year for the first time since 1959, according to data released on Wednesday by the national statistics bureau.

Prices were down 0.1 percent in 2016 after they rose an annual 0.1 percent in 2015, the lowest increase in decades, provisional Istat figures showed.

Excluding energy and unprocessed food prices, ‘core’ inflation was 0.5 per cent last year, against 0.7 per cent in 2015, the data showed.

The data compares with an Istat forecast in November of of zero inflation in 2016 and 1.0 percent inflation in 2017.

Despite deflation in 2016, prices picked up at the end of the year, with a 0.5 percent annual rise in December following a 0.1 percent increase in November year-on-year, Istat said.

The higher-than-expected December inflation owed to price hikes in transport services, non-regulated energy products and unprocessed foods, according to Istat.