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Estonian CPI at 3.5 pct, supported by higher housing prices

TALLINN, Oct 5 (Reuters) - Estonia's inflation rate held steady due to higher housing costs in September to give a 3.5 percent year-on-year annual inflation rate, the same as the previous month, and higher than analysts' expectations, statistics office data showed on Friday.

A Reuters poll of four analysts had expected the price increase to be lower at 3.55 percent. Month-on-month prices in September grew 0.5 percent, also faster than the analysts' forecast of a 0.25 percent increase.

Estonia's consumer price index is one of the highest in the euro zone, but inflation has come down from 4.5 percent recorded in January this year.

The increase in prices over the last year was mainly influenced by higher housing and food costs. Last month, annual inflation also stood at 3.5 percent.

Prices rose month-on-month in September due to higher motor fuel costs, but the increase was constrained by lower prices for clothing and some vegetables, the statistics office said. In August, the month-on-month price index also rose 0.5 percent.

The Estonian Finance Ministry said in August that it expected an annual inflation rate of 3.9 percent for 2012.

(Reporting by David Mardiste; Editing by Jon Hemming)

((david.mardiste@thomsonreuters.com)(+372 5290992)(Reuters Messaging: david.mardiste.thomsonreuters.com@thomsonreuters.net))

Keywords: ESTONIA INFLATION/