Motor insurance costs steady, but drivers hit at pumps
There has been no monthly increase in the cost of motor insurance for the third month in a row.
Drivers, however, have been hit by higher costs of petrol and diesel at the pumps.
Food prices fell in March. This is thought to be due to the Brexit bonus as imports are now cheaper due to the fall in the value of sterling relative to the euro.
However, the overall rate of inflation was up 0.7pc compared with a year ago. This was slightly higher than the rise in overall prices in February, with fuel price rises the main reason for the pick-up in prices in March, according to the latest consumer price index from the Central Statistics Office.
Petrol and diesel prices are at an 18-month high. Recent figures from AA Ireland showed petrol now costs 137.7c, while diesel costs 127.1c per litre on average across the country.
Higher crude oil prices are pushing up prices at the pumps.
The CSO said transport costs were 5.3pc higher in March compared with the same month in 2016. But drivers do appear to be gaining from a stall in the rise in motor premiums.
The CSO said there was no rise in motor premiums again in March. The monthly cost of premiums was flat in February and January also.
But the surges in the cost of cover over the past few years have seen premium rates shoot up by 60pc on average since 2010, additional information from the CSO indicates.
The cost of health insurance and home insurance also rose, by 8pc each in the past year.
The cost of going to restaurants and hotels rose in the past year due to higher prices for alcoholic drinks and food consumed in licensed premises, restaurants, cafes, and an increase in the cost of hotel accommodation.
Prices of food and non-alcoholic beverages fell in the past year due to lower prices across a range of products such as jam, honey, chocolate and confectionery, bread and cereals, vegetables and milk, cheese and eggs.
The CSO said furnishings, household equipment and routine household maintenance costs decreased.
Economist with Merrion Stockbrokers Alan McQuaid said inflation was muted, and should not rise too much in the immediate future.
"That said, the cost of services like insurance and education are likely to remain elevated," he wrote in a note for investors.
Oil prices were likely to remain volatile, he said.
But Mr McQuaid predicts overall prices will not rise beyond at most 1pc this year.