Dutch inflation stood at 2.5 percent in March 2012, i.e. the same rate as in the two preceding months. Inflation is defined as the increase in the consumer price index (CPI) in a particular month compared to the same month in the previous year.
There were some underlying changes. Prices of clothes had an upward effect on inflation in February, but food prices had a downward effect.
Housing, energy and water and transport costs contributed 0.7 and 0.5 percentage points respectively to March’s inflation rate of 2.5 percent. Other goods and services also contributed to inflation, though to a lesser extent.
The harmonised consumer price index (HICP) allows comparison between the inflation rates in the various member states of the European Union (EU). According to the HICP method, the Dutch inflation rate in March was 2.9 percent, the same as in February. Eurostat, the European statistical office, calculated an inflation rate of 2.7 percent for the eurozone, also unchanged compared with February. The level of inflation in the eurozone is one of the main guidelines for the European Central Bank (ECB) to change or refrain from changing the interest rate. According to the ECB, prices in the eurozone are stable, if the inflation rate is close to 2 percent.