(Updates with producer prices in second paragraph.)
Oct. 6 (Bloomberg) -- Consumer prices in Ecuador, which uses the U.S. dollar as its official currency, rose at their fastest pace in more than two years in September as food costs jumped, the National Statistics and Census Institute said.
Prices climbed 5.39 percent from a year earlier, the steepest 12-month increase since May 2009, and rose 0.79 percent from August, the agency said today in a report on its website. Producer prices rose 0.14 percent month-over-month and gained 6.73 percent in the year.
Ecuador’s economy, South America’s seventh-biggest, expanded 8.9 percent in the second quarter, its fastest pace since 2008, as windfall oil profits helped boost spending on labor-intensive public works projects and spurred consumer demand, central bank President Diego Borja said last week.
Prices rose the fastest in the highland city of Ambato, jumping 7.48 percent in September from the previous year, while inflation reached 5.69 percent in the nation’s largest city, Guayaquil, the statistics agency said. Ecuador, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries’ smallest member, subsidizes fuel and domestic use of natural gas.
Food costs leaped 8.57 percent, led by potatoes, a staple in the Andean nation, which soared 22 percent from a year earlier, while eggs increased 10 percent, the report said. Education costs rose 5.76 percent in September as highland schools restarted classes after a summer recess.
Ecuador’s Finance Ministry raised its inflation forecast in August to 4.13 percent from the earlier estimate of 3.69 percent, while the central bank said Sept. 29 that the economy will expand faster than its previous estimate of 5.24 percent.
--With assistance from Dominic Carey in Sao Paulo. Editors: Richard Jarvie, Philip Sanders
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