BUCHAREST, Feb. 14 (Xinhua) -- Romania's inflation rose by 4.3 percent in January compared to a year earlier, marking the highest level in the last five years, according to data released Wednesday by the National Institute of Statistics (INS).
The rise in the inflation rate was driven by higher food and energy prices, according to the INS.
The food price index rose in January by 3.79 percent, while the prices of non-food goods showed a 6.23-percent increase as compared with figures of the same month of 2017.
Retail inflation, as measured by the consumer price index (CPI), rose to 0.78 percent in January as compared with December 2017, driven mainly by costlier fuels, which rose by 2.4 percent, and higher utility prices.
Market analysts anticipated the leap in prices in January as administrated energy prices went up.
"We expect January 2018 inflation to spike to 4.1 percent year-on-year from 3.3 percent previously as the tax cuts from January 2017 drop out of the statistical base and as the regulator announced an increase in gas prices during the month," said Ciprian Dascalu, chief economist at ING Bank Romania.
Fuel inflation firmed up by 2.42 percent in February, while gas prices went up by 3.79 percent as compared with last month's figures.
The National Bank of Romania had also raised its inflation forecast for the first quarter of 2018 to 5.0 percent from 3.9 percent, citing inflationary pressures and the risk of higher oil prices, and raised its benchmark interest rate to 2.25 percent from 2.0 percent.