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Consumer prices go negative as coronavirus lockdowns hit

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When it comes to prices, we pay a lot. (Stock picture)

When it comes to prices, we pay a lot. (Stock picture)

When it comes to prices, we pay a lot. (Stock picture)

The Consumer Price Index fell by 0.4pc in the month of March and by 0.1pc from a year earlier as the pandemic lockdowns hit Ireland.

The data published by the Central Statistics Office today does not however reflect the massive changes to our spending patterns as result of the lockdowns that have shuttered restaurant and cinemas and emptied our roads and public transport network.

The huge fall in oil prices in March was behind the dramatic monthly decline in the index, the CSO said and the annual drop was due to an 8.4pc decline in communications equipment and services.

The CSO keeps the same weightings for products and services in its inflation basket so the changes from month-to-month and year-to-year are comparable.

However the index recorded a 2.4pc annual rise in the cost of nightclub admission, for example, an item that no longer forms a part of anyone’s spending as all the venues are shut.

Similarly, a 4.7pc drop in fuel prices does not have as much of an impact now as in normal times as hardly anyone is travelling for work or pleasure.

The index is important in that it is used to calculate pensions and wage rises.

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