LISBON, Dec 12 (Reuters) - Portugal's consumer price index fell 0.3 percent in November due to a drop in fuel prices after a 0.3 percent increase the previous month while consumer demand in the recession-hit, bailed out nation remained weak, data showed on Wednesday.
The National Statistics Institute said year-on-year inflation last month slowed down to 1.9 percent from October's 2.1 percent. Average annual inflation clocked 2.9 percent, down from 3.1 percent the previous month.
Portugal has imposed painful tax hikes and pay cuts under the terms of a 78-billion euro EU/IMF bailout. The austerity has hit consumer demand and caused the deepest recession since the 1970s.
Analysts surveyed by Reuters had expected, on average, a month-on-month CPI change between zero and -0.2 percent. The government expects 2012 inflation of 3.1 percent.
The INE said the transport price category that depends on fuel prices fell 1.8 percent in November from the preceding month, providing the single relevant negative impact on the index.
(Reporting By Andrei Khalip, editing by Axel Bugge) Keywords: PORTUGAL INFLATION/
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