UPDATE 1-Mauritius inflation falls to 3.7 pct in January

Fri Feb 8, 2013 1:40am EST

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PORT LOUIS Feb 8 (Reuters) - Mauritius' annual average inflation rate fell for the thirteenth straight month to 3.7 percent in January from 3.9 percent in December, the statistics office said on Friday.

The year-on-year rate of inflation eased to 2.9 percent from 3.2 percent, according to Thomson Reuters' calculations.

Statistics Mauritius said headline inflation, excluding alcoholic beverages and tobacco, fell to 2.5 percent for the 12 months ending January from 5.2 percent a year ago.

"The depreciation of the dollar vis a vis the rupee has contributed to the decline in inflation. It should be pointed out that the great majority of Mauritian imports are paid in dollars," Dan Maraye former central bank chief told Reuters.

Finance Minister Xavier Duval had predicted the annual average inflation for the island would stand at 3.9 percent in December last year.

The Indian Ocean island is pushing to rely less on Europe, its main source of tourism revenue and a major market for its textile, sugar and services industry, and has been branching into information technology, business outsourcing and offshore banking.

Statistics Mauritius said the Consumer Price Index for April onwards will be rebased on the country's 2012 Household Budget Survey data. (Reporting by Jean Paul Arouff; Editing by James Macharia)

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