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Bahrain inflation slowed to 1.7 pct y/y in February

DUBAI, March 21 (Reuters) - Bahrain's inflation slightly eased to 1.7 percent year-on-year in February from 1.8 percent in January, data showed on Sunday. The monthly rate of inflation also continued to slow, with the Gulf kingdom's consumer price index at 111.7 in February, up 0.2 percent compared with January, the Central Informatics Organisation's (CIO) website showed. In January the consumer price index increased by 0.36 percent compared with December. The global financial crisis weighed on consumer prices across the Gulf Arab region last year after they hit peaks in 2008, with some countries such as the United Arab Emirates experiencing temporary deflation in 2009. On the month, food prices rose 2.5 percent in February after an increase of 0.55 percent in January. Clothes prices were down 0.57 percent while water prices and electricity remained stable. Food prices were likely to continue putting pressure on inflation in the Gulf, but weak household demand and credit growth should keep the scope of price rises in check, analysts said. Analysts polled by Reuters in January forecast Bahrain's inflation to rise slightly to 2.9 percent in 2010 from 2.7 percent 2009. In January, Bahrain's central bank governor, Rasheed al-Maraj, said that the central bank did not see any immediate inflationary pressure in Bahrain. (Reporting by Rania Oteify; Editing by Hans Peters) Keywords: BAHRAIN INFLATION (rania.oteify@thomsonreuters.com; +971 4 391 8301; Reuters Messaging: rania.oteify.reuters.com@reuters.net) COPYRIGHT Copyright Thomson Reuters 2010. All rights reserved.

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