HOPES that the rate of inflation will ease have been dashed as the latest figures show a higher rate last month.
rices rose by 8pc in the year to February, and by 1.4pc in the month, the Central Statistics Office (CSO) said.
This is up from 7.5pc in the year to January.
The higher-than-expected inflation rate is despite energy prices falling by 0.2pc in the month. But they are up 29.2pc since February last year.
Food prices are estimated to have risen by 1.2pc in the last month and increased by 13.4pc in the last year.
And there are fears that it will be a while before food inflation eases as the current shortages of vegetables in supermarkets looks set to keep pressure on prices.
Recent figures from research group Kantar show that grocery price inflation hit 16.3pc in the 12 weeks to 23 January.
This was the highest level seen since the consultants started tracking grocery inflation.
Irish households are now facing an extra €1,159 on their annual shopping bills if they do not change their behaviour to cut costs, Kantar warned.
The stronger-than-expected CSO inflation figures come despite Finance Minister Michael McGrath saying last week that that he expects inflation in this country will fall “much more rapidly than previously assumed”.
It would average between 4pc and 5pc this year due to falling energy prices, he said.
His department had previously anticipated a rate of 7pc for this year.
The CSO said its “flash estimate” for the EU Harmonised Index of Consumer Prices, was up 5.8pc since last year when energy is excluded.
CSO statistician Anthony Dawson said: “The latest flash estimate of the Harmonised Index of Consumer Prices (HICP), compiled by the CSO, indicates that prices for consumer goods and services in Ireland are estimated to have increased by 8pc in the past year.
“Prices are estimated to have risen by 1.4pc since January 2023.”
The figures show that transport costs have increased by 3.6pc since February last year.
Mr McGrath said last week: “The good news is that inflation has now peaked and is falling back,” Mr McGrath told the Irish Tax Institute’s annual dinner.
“At the time of the Budget, we anticipated that the annual rate of inflation for this year would average around 7pc, with the annual rate falling to 4pc in the final quarter of the year,” he said.
“These were based on the assumption of oil and natural gas prices at the time of the Budget.”
Mr McGrath said wholesale prices have fallen sharply since then and, provided there is no further energy price shock, inflation is set to fall much more rapidly than previously assumed.