Colombia’s annual inflation rate fell to 5.18% in February, according to the country’s National Administrative Department of Statistics (DANE). This is down from 5.47% in January and marks the seventh consecutive month of falling inflation after the rate hit a 16-year high of 8.97% in June 2016.
Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos was encouraged by the news. He said on Twitter that the ongoing drop means that he believes inflation will return to the central bank’s target range of between 2% to 4% before 2018. “We will achieve the inflation goal of 4% by the end of the year,” said Santos on Twitter.
Mauricio Cárdenas, Colombia’s finance minister, also responded positively. “Inflation continues to fall,” wrote Cárdenas on Twitter, adding that this is “good news for your wallet.”
The month-to-month increase in the consumer price index from January to February was 1.01%, less than the 1.26% seen from January to February 2016, according to DANE. The small increase is particularly notable, says the agency, because February is the month that historically is hit with the “seasonal component of spending on education.” Education prices jumped 6.78% from January to February.
The increase in food prices (0.71%) was also lower this month than it was in February 2016 (1.44%). This was in part due to price drops of several key products, including potato (down 4.85%), chicken (down 1.43%), and eggs (down 1.39%). DANE notes that various fresh fruits and onions did register price increases, however.
Through the first two months of 2017, the consumer price index has risen by 2.04%. This is below the 2.59% jump over the same period in 2016, and largely explained by food prices, says DANE.
While the cost of food measured in the market basket has only risen by 2.34% so far this year, it spiked by 4.29% during the first two months of 2017. According to DANE, the big increase in early 2016 was largely due to the effect that an especially severe cycle of the El Niño weather phenomenon had on rainfall and therefore agricultural production.