LISBON, May 13 (Reuters) - Portugal's inflation slowed down to a halt in April when consumer prices were flat after a steep rise the previous month, mostly hit by a drop in fuel prices and showing consumer demand remains weak in the recession-hit, bailed out country.
The National Statistics Institute said on Monday year-on-year inflation last month also decelerated sharply, with its consumer price index clocking 0.2 percent after 0.5 percent in March. Average annual inflation slowed down to 1.7 percent from 2.0 percent the previous month.
Analysts surveyed by Reuters had expected a small month-on-month CPI increase of up to 0.3 percent. In March, CPI rose 1.7 percent, spurred by the end of winter sales of clothing and footwear.
Portugal has imposed painful tax hikes and pay cuts under the terms of its 78-billion euro EU/IMF bailout. The austerity has hit consumer demand and caused the deepest recession since the 1970s, now in its third year.
(Reporting By Andrei Khalip) Keywords: PORTUGAL INFLATION/
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