Romania reported a 0.74% inflation rate in December last year, bringing the overall inflation rate for 2006 to 4.87% compared to 8.6% the previous year, according to the latest data presented by the National Statistics Institute. The average monthly inflation rate stood at 0.4% over the past 12 months.

Prices rose most for non-food products (8.33%) and services (5.12%) throughout 2006, while food prices grew by 1.07%. The growing prices for non-food products were fueled by higher prices for natural gas (+33.58%), tobacco and cigarettes (+27.71%) and thermal energy (+18.37%).

Prices for appliances such as refrigerators decreased by 2.29% in December last year, by 1.47% for washing machines and by 1.66% for medical articles.

When it comes to food, prices rose most for sugar (+26.25%), locally made alcoholic drinks (+10.4%), beans and other vegetables (+8.46%).

Services prices rose especially due to higher prices for water supplies, sewage services and medical care, along with rents, cosmetics and train tickets.

The National Bank target for 2006 stood at 5% plus/minus 1% and is expected to drop to 4% in 2007 and 3.8% plus/minus 1% in 2008.