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March 12, 2008
VILNIUS, Lithuania (AP) – Lithuania’s consumer price index grew at an annual 11 percent in February, the country’s statistics office said Wednesday, making it the third Baltic state to record double-digit inflation.
Prices of services increased 11 percent for the 12-month period, while food jumped 17 percent and housing costs 17 percent, the agency said.
The inflation data completes the circle for the Baltic states, where robust consumer demand and global trends of higher food and energy prices have pushed inflation into double-digit territory.
Latvia currently has the highest annual inflation at 17 percent _ also the highest in the European Union _ while Estonia recorded an 11 percent increase in its annual price index in February.
Lithuanian analysts say they expect prices to continue climbing.
«I’m afraid we’ve not reached the limit yet. The government has set higher excise taxes for cigarettes and alcohol in March, and communal heating prices are also expected to rise sharply this year. These factors will fuel inflation,» said Gitanas Nauseda, an analyst at SEB bank.