The provisional CPI was unrevised in the final data for March. This left a 0.4 percent monthly rise in prices and a 1.6 percent annual inflation rate, up from 1.4 percent in the final February report and the first yearly increase since last November.
The final HICP similarly matched its flash estimate, also leaving a 0.4 percent monthly gain and a 1.5 percent annual rate after a 1.2 percent posting in mid-quarter.
However, the acceleration in the yearly headline rate was largely due to the more volatile components and excluding food and energy inflation was only flat at 1.6 percent. Food (2.9 percent after 1.1 percent) provided most of the boost alongside a smaller contribution from energy (0.5 percent after 0.1 percent). In addition, an early Easter this year probably provided some help as prices were raised in anticipation of the holiday period (package holiday charges were up 2.0 percent on the month).
In other words, underlying inflation developments were probably little changed last month. The trend rate is rising, but only slowly.