Consumer inflation in Chile during December was negative, 1.2%, the lowest since 1996, helping the overall consumers' prices index (CPI) to close 2008 at 7.1%, according to the latest release from the country's Statistics Institute, INE.
The greatest fall in prices during December was in Transport, minus 6.4%; Housing, minus 0.8%, Food minus 0.5% and Clothing, minus 0.3%. Fuels and air fares had the most influence in the Transport item having contracted 21.3% and 7.3% respectively. Housing was also helped by a strong descent in the price of cooking gas, 11.4%. Food prices were down pushed by cheaper fresh and frozen vegetables (minus 1.9%) and fresh fruit (minus 0.3%), which also coincides with the summer season. Increases were recorded for Education and Leisure, 0.5%; Others, 1%; Housing equipment and apparel, 0.3% and Health services, 0.1%. Looking at the whole 2008 picture, consumer inflation was up in seven of the eight items of the basket, that being Transport, according to INE. Food was up 14.7%; Housing, 8.6%; Housing equipment, 3.2%; Clothing, 0.7%; Health services, 4.5%; Education and Leisure, 6%; Others, 17.3% and Transport, minus 4.2%. Money markets reacted positively with the Chilean peso appreciating against the US dollar. So far in the first six days of 2009 the Chilean currency has recovered 1.18% against the greenback, after having lost 22.3% during 2008.