The provisional CPI was revised a little softer in the final March report. Prices are now seen rising 0.3 percent on the month, a tick less than previously estimated. In turn, this shaded the annual inflation rate by also 0.1 percentage points to 0.8 percent, up from 0.5 percent in February.
The flash HICP was revised a larger 0.2 percentage points lower to a (mainly seasonal) 2.3 percent monthly gain that put its annual rate at 0.9 percent, up from a final 0.5 percent in mid-quarter.
The revisions were due to some of the more volatile components although these were still mainly responsible for the acceleration in the yearly headline CPI rate. Hence, the rate for unprocessed food climbed from minus 3.2 percent to minus 0.4 percent while tobacco was up from 0.3 percent to 2.2 percent. Energy (3.0 percent after 3.7 percent) moved in the other direction. As a result, the core rate, which excludes fresh food and energy, was trimmed to 0.7 percent, now just 0.1 percentage points above its final February reading.
Today's update reinforces the longstanding picture of sluggish and essentially flat underlying inflation in Italy. Accordingly, any economic slowdown from here could renew the spectre of deflation, an eventuality that the national central bank and ECB really do not want to see.