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Inflation drops to lowest level in 37 months on electricity

Annual rate at 1.4 percent compared to peak of 3.5 percent in October of last year

Consumer price inflation in April fell to its lowest level since the first quarter of 2010 after a big cut in regulated rates charged for electricity and a fall in fuel prices.

According to a flash estimate released Monday by Spain’s National Statistics Institute (INE), the consumer price index was up 0.4 percent from the previous month, while the annual rate declined from 2.4 percent to 1.4 percent, the lowest level since March 2010. The highest recent level was 3.5 percent in October of last year.

Weak domestic demand as a result of the second recession in four years has also kept a lid on price rises.

Weak demand also saw retail sales fall for the 32nd month in a row in March, the INE said in a separate release on Monday.

Sales at constant prices, and after adjusting for differences in the number of working days, declined 8.9 percent from a year earlier after dropping 7.7 percent in February. The biggest falls in purchases by consumers were in bigger-ticket items such as household equipment and personal equipment, which declined 9.9 and 12.4 percent respectively.

However, with unemployment at an unprecedented 27 percent and household budgets stretched to the limit, families are also cutting back on food, sales of which fell 1.6 percent.