Bloomberg News

Mauritius’s Inflation Slows in September on Phone Charges

October 06, 2011

(Updates with analyst comments in fourth paragraph.)

Oct. 6 (Bloomberg) -- Mauritius’s inflation slowed for a second month in September as communication cost fell, the country’s statistics agency said.

The inflation rate declined to 6.3 percent, the lowest level since December, from 6.5 percent in August, the data agency said in a statement on its website today. Prices dropped 0.1 percent during the month. The average rate for the 12 months through September increased to 6.2 percent from 5.8 percent in August, it said.

Mauritius Telecom, the state-owned fixed-line phone operator, cut its interconnection charges by 20 percent for calls from a landline to mobiles, according to the country’s telecommunications regulator.

“Inflation has slowed on a one-off item,” Swadicq Nuthay, an economist at the Port Louis-based Axys Capital Management Ltd., said by phone today. “We must not jump to the conclusion that inflation is on a downward slope.”

A weaker rupee may lead to higher import costs toward the end of the year, he said.

Mauritius, an Indian Ocean island nation with a population of 1.3 million people, is a net buyer of fuels and food, with 67 percent of its imports bills in dollars, according to the central bank. The rupee has depreciated 4.7 percent since the end of August and was trading at 29.15 per dollar by 12 p.m. in Port Louis, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Mauritius’s central bank kept its benchmark interest rate was left unchanged at 5.5 percent in September as the inflation rate fell and on concerns economic growth will slow because of a debt crisis in Europe, the country’s main trading partner.

--Editors: Gordon Bell, Louis Meixler

To contact the reporter on this story: Kamlesh Bhuckory in Port Louis at kbhuckory@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Antony Sguazzin at asguazzin@bloomberg.net


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