Eurozone inflation rises for first time in months, with Belgium far below average
After hitting a two-year low in November, eurozone inflation rose to 2.9 per cent year-on-year in December, according to a first estimate by the European statistics office Eurostat. Belgium's rate, at 0.5 percent, is the lowest in the euro area.
In November, eurozone inflation was 2.4 per cent, the lowest level since November 2021. Last month's increase, in line with analysts' forecasts, is the first since April.
Energy prices in particular played a role (+4 per cent). These fell again in December (-6.7 per cent year-on-year), but the decline was less pronounced than in previous months. Food, alcohol and tobacco were up 6.1 per cent year-on-year, services 4 per cent and non-energy industrial goods 2.5 per cent.
However, core inflation - which excludes energy, food, alcohol and tobacco - fell further to 3.4 per cent. Many economists consider core inflation to be a better indicator of the true cost of living, as it reflects the underlying trend.
For Belgium, the tables show 0.5 per cent. Together with Italy, this is the lowest figure of all the euro countries. However, Eurostat uses a different method of calculation than the Belgian statistical office Statbel. At the end of last month, Statbel announced that inflation in Belgium stood at 1.35 per cent, as opposed to Eurostat's much lower figure of 0.5 per cent.
The significant difference between the two figures can be explained by the different weighting and composition of the basket of goods and services on which these indicators are based. One of the differences, for example, is in the price used for heating oil. The European calculation method allows comparisons to be made between member states.
© PHOTO ANDRE PAIN / AFP