Czech says Jan CPI below fcast mainly on regulated prices, sees pick-up

PRAGUE Wed Feb 12, 2014 7:08am EST

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PRAGUE Feb 12 (Reuters) - Czech inflation slowed more than the central bank expected in January mainly due to a bigger drop in regulated prices, while food prices rose above expectations, the bank said on Wednesday.

It said the data confirmed the central bank's decision to intervene to weaken the crown currency last November significantly contributed to averting the threat of deflation.

It said it expected inflation to pick up speed and return toward the bank's 2 percent target at the end of this year, from just 0.2 percent year-on-year in January.

The central bank had expected year-on-year price growth of 0.4 percent last month.

It added that average inflation this year would reach 1.2 percent. (Reporting by Jan Lopatka; Editing by Jason Hovet)