Prices surged 15.77 percent over the past 12 months, the highest year-over-year increase since 1998, according to a report by the Statistics and Census Institute (INEC).
Food and non-alcoholic beverages became 27.7 percent more expensive, hurting low-income families who tend to spend a greater percentage of their paycheck on food. Transportation costs increased 19 percent, while the bill at restaurants went up 18.8 percent.
Of the 292 goods and services used to measure the consumer price index, 68 percent increased in price, while 23 percent became cheaper and 9 percent stayed the same. Compared to September 2007, consumers are now paying 70 percent more for beans, 56 percent more for eggs and 53 percent more for rice.
Last month, prices increased 0.95 percent, the highest September increase since 1999. The Central Bank estimates that 2008 inflation (from January to December) will be 14.2 percent, down from its earlier stated goal of about 8 percent.