* Highest monthly increase since January 2010
* Inflation fueled by spike in food prices
QUITO Oct 4 Ecuador's consumer prices rose 1.12
percent in September, the highest monthly rise since at least
January 2010, driven by a spike in food prices, the country's
official statistics agency said on Thursday.
The inflation rate rose rapidly in the OPEC-member nation in
late 2011 and earlier this year as heavy rains destroyed crops,
pushing up food prices. Food prices steadied in the second
quarter of 2012, but they have picked up again in the past three
months, pushing overall inflation higher.
"The food and non-alcoholic beverages sector was the one
that contributed the most to the inflation rate. The
month-on-month increase in this sector was of 1.94 percent," the
INEC statistics agency said in a statement.
Also fueling inflation in September were the education,
recreation and culture sectors.
The 1.12 percent inflation rate last month is almost four
times higher than the 0.29 percent posted for August.
In the 12 months through September, prices rose 5.22
percent, accelerating from the 4.88 percent increase in the same
period through August. Meanwhile, accumulated inflation in the
first nine months of 2012 was 4.12 percent, below the 4.31
percent reported for the year-earlier period.
Ecuador's inflation rate tends to be volatile. Consumer
prices fell 0.19 percent in May, but rose 0.79 percent in
September last year.