DUBLIN - Ireland's finance department said inflation is expected to be lower this year than the 7.1% rate it forecast last September, with a significant easing anticipated from the second quarter due to a sharp fall in wholesale gas prices.
Annual Irish inflation slowed to 8.2% in December after hitting a 38-year high of 9.2% two months earlier. The finance department said on Saturday that the easing in wholesale prices supported the idea that inflation had peaked and was on a downward trajectory.
The updated analysis was contained in an assessment of the government's Temporary Business Energy Support Scheme (TBESS), introduced late last year to provide firms with up to 40% of the increase in energy bills up to 10,000 euros per month.
To date just 15,000 businesses have registered for the scheme, which the finance department said was a relatively lower level of uptake than initially expected and budgeted for.
The government has so far approved claims worth 17.5 million euros, having set aside 1.25 billion euros to cover the six-month scheme.
(Reporting by Padraic Halpin; Editing by Alison Williams)