The Consumer Price Index (CPI) annual rate was 0.0% in March 2020 (0.4% in February). This deceleration was determined by the behaviour of the index for energy products, with an annual rate of change of -3.7% (0.9% in February), reflecting the evolution in prices in international markets as a result of the decrease in demand for these products due to the pandemic, as well as the dispute between oil-producing countries. The annual core inflation rate, which excludes energy and unprocessed food products, was 0.0% (0.1% in the previous month).
The CPI monthly rate was 1.4% (-0.6% in the previous month and 1.8% in March 2019), while the CPI 12-month average rate was 0.3% (the same value as in the previous month).
In March 2020, the Portuguese Harmonised Index of Consumer Prices (HICP) annual rate was 0.1% (0.5% in the previous month). This rate is 0.6 percentage points (p.p.) below the figure estimated by Eurostat for the Euro area (in the previous month, this difference was 0.7 p.p.).
Although this information pertaining to March already reflects some of the impact of the current situation due to the pandemic COVID-19, in particular for flights and hotels near the end of the month, it is possible that the analysed trends will change substantially. Nonetheless, the information available today is useful to establish a reference to assess future developments. Despite the circumstances, Statistics Portugal will try to maintain the statistical production and release calendar, although some adjustments might occur associated with the impact of the pandemic in obtaining primary information. For this reason, Statistics Portugal asks for the best collaboration by firms, households and public entities in answering to Statistics Portugal‘s requests to obtain information, using Internet and telephone as alternative channels to face-to-face contacts. In fact, the quality of official statistics, particularly its ability to identify the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, depends crucially on this collaboration that Statistics Portugal is grateful for in advance.