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Germany

German import prices post biggest drop in ten years

Germany's national statistics office has reported the country's largest drop in import prices since 1999, mainly due to dramatic falls in energy prices.

A workman opens the tap at a German natural gas storage facility

Natural gas prices rose in February, but were offset by dramatic falls in oil prices

Figures released on Friday show that import prices dropped 6.4 percent in February from a year earlier.

The statistics office confirmed this was the steepest fall since a 6.6 percent decrease in January 1999.

In January this year, import prices saw a drop of over 5 percent compared with January 2008.

The Wiesbaden-based national statistics office, Destatis, said that crude oil import prices were 46 percent lower for February 2009, while refined oil products such as gasoline and diesel fuel were 41 percent cheaper compared with the same period in 2008.

However the figures showed varying trends with natural gas prices 18 percent higher for the month.

Destatis said that if oil products were excluded from the calculation, the February fall in import prices was a more modest 1.2 percent.