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Spain's May Consumer Prices Rise 2.3% from Year Ago

Consumer prices in Spain rose 2.3% on the year in May, down from a 2.4% annual rate in April, the National Statistics Institute said Wednesday.

On the month, prices rose 0.3% in May after a 1.4% monthly increase in April.

On a European-Union-harmonized basis, Spain's annual inflation rate was 2.4%.

Spain, whose economy has been one of Europe's fastest growing for more than a decade, has also had one of the region's highest rates of inflation, the result of strong domestic demand for goods and services and a convergence with prices in richer neighboring countries.

According to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the difference between Spain's inflation rate and that of other European nations has accumulated to more than 10 percentage points since 1997, undermining the competitiveness of Spanish products against those of its main trading partners.

Spanish inflation has been falling in the first half of 2007, the result of favorable base comparisons with the same period last year when prices shot up on the back of spiraling international oil prices.

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