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Inflation preview stays at 0.93%, highest figure in March since 2015

Section: Economic Statistics | Caio Belandi

March 25, 2021 09h00 AM | Last Updated: March 25, 2021 11h51 PM

Gasoline price rises for ninth month in a row- Photo: Lícia Rubinstein/IBGE News Agency

The Extended National Consumer Price Index 15 (IPCA-15) reached 0.93% in March and was 0.45 percentage points (p.p.) above the February rate (0.48%). That is the highest result in March since 2015, when the index was 1.24%. IPCA-E, which is formed by the cumulative index by quarter was 2.21%, the highest rate for a Q1 since 2016, when it reached 2.79%. Data was released by the IBGE this Thursday (25). In terms of cumulative index in 12 months, IPCA-15 shows an increase by 5.52%. In March 2020, the rate was 0.02%.

Among the nine groups of products and sercices surveyed, eight recorded increases in March. The biggest impact (0.76 p.p.) and increase (3.79%) came from Transportation, which accelerated from February (1.11%), mainly due to fuel prices (11.63%). The main individual impact on the monthly index (0.56 p.p) was that of gasoline (11.18%), whose prices rose for the ninth month in a row. Increases were also observed in ethanol (16.38%), diesel (10.66%) and vehicle gas (0.39%).

New cars (0.99%), used cars (0.30%) and car insurance (2.57%) amounted to 0.06 p.p. of contribution and had an impact on the rise of transportation.

The subitem urban buses (0.42%) recorded an increased as a consequence of the 8.70% adjustmemt in the prices of urban bus fares in Recife (7.14%), in effect since February 7. The subitem train registered an increase of 1.61%, due to the price adjustment of gasolina by 6.38% in Rio de Janeiro (4.26%), in effect since February 23.

Also in Transportation, considering decreases, the items app transportation (-2.38%) and airfares (-2.01%) also fell, but to a lower extent from February, when figures were -9.16% and -2.54%, respectively.

The second main impact on IPCA-15 came from Housing, with an increase of 0.71% nas a 0.11 p.p. contribution to the month's result. A highlight was bottled gas, which rose 4.60% and accounted for 0.05 p.p. That was the 10th consecutive month with increase. Bottled gas (2.52%) and water and sewage rate (0.68%) accelerated from February, when figures were of 1.19% and 0.45%, respectively.

In the case of bottled gas, price adjustments in two locations influenced the result: 3.50% in Rio de Janeiro (2.10%), in effect since February 1st and two in Curitiba (19.04%), one of 8.07%, in effect since February 1st, and 15.57%, starting on February 16.

In water and sewage, the survey also showed there were price adjustments in Fortaleza (5.77%), 12.25%, in effect since January 29th; and in Curitiba (3.78%), 5.11%, in effect since February 5th.

Also in Housing, electricity recorded an increase of 0.05%, against a decrease of 4.24% in the IPCA-15 of February. Throughout the data collection period, the yellow tariff flag was in effect, adding R$ 1.343 to the electricity bill per every kwh consumed. Price adjustments of 4.66% and 4.50% in concessionnaires in Rio de Janeiro (-0.57%), both since March 15.

Food and beverages changed by 0.12%, with deceleration from February (0.56%). Food at home fell 0.03% after seven months of increase, mainly due to decreases of tomato (-17.50%), potato (-16.20%), long life milk (-4.50%) and rice (-1.65%). Meat rose 1.72%.

Food away from home decelerated from the previous month, recording 0.49% in March from 0.56% in February. The index was influenced by snacks (0.64%) and meals (0.33%), items which, in February, increased by 1.20% and 0.37%, respectively.

The only group recording decrease in IPCA-15 of March was Education, which fell by 0.51% after an increase of 2.39% in February. The other groups ranged between an increase of 0.02% in Communication and 0.55% in Household articles.

In March, IPCA-15 rose in all the areas surveyed

All the areas surveyed recorded a positive change in March. The main one came from the metropolitan area of Belém (1.49%), mainly due to gasoline (12.44%). The lowest change das that of the metropolitan area of Rio de Janeiro (0.52%), influenced by decrease in tomato (-21.73%) and potato (-16.91%). 

In order to calculate IPCA-15, prices were collected between February 12 dand March 15, 2021 (reference) and compared to those in effect between January 15 and February 11, 2021 (base). The indicator refers to households with an income from 1 to 40 minimum wages and encompasses the metropolitan areas of Rio de Janeiro, Porto Alegre, Belo Horizonte, Recife, São Paulo, Belém, Fortaleza, Salvador and Curitiba,  besides Brasília and the municipality of Goiânia. The methodology is the same as that of the IPCA; the difference lies in the period of data collection and in geographic coverage.

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