Inflation in Belgium grew to 'higher than expected' 1.75 per cent in January

Inflation in Belgium rose to 1.75 per cent year-on-year this month, Statbel announced on Tuesday. It is the third increase in a row and is higher than expected by the Federal Planning Bureau.

Prices of dairy products, household services, bread and cereals, alcohol and rent were the main contributors to inflation in January. Energy, fuel, airline tickets and hotel rooms became cheaper.

Food inflation - including alcohol - stood at 6.58 per cent, falling for the 10th consecutive month. Food currently accounts for 1.31 percentage points of total inflation.

Core inflation, which excludes energy and unprocessed food prices, fell for the eighth consecutive month to 4.70 percent in January. Core inflation more accurately reflects the underlying trend in the cost of living.

Nevertheless, January's inflation rate of 1.75 per cent is higher than the 1.56 per cent forecast by the Federal Planning Bureau at the beginning of the month. For 2024 as a whole, the bureau expects inflation to reach 3.2 per cent.

Zero growth for eurozone

Also on Tuesday, the European statistics agency Eurostat reported that the eurozone is estimated to have grown by 0.5 per cent in 2023. However, Eurostat warned that this was a preliminary figure based on incomplete data.

In the fourth quarter of last year, the eurozone saw zero growth, reports the agency. During the previous quarter, gross domestic product fell by 0.1 per cent.

Belgium performed better than average, with quarterly growth of 0.4 per cent in the last three months, while Germany, Europe's largest economy, contracted by 0.3 per cent in the same period.

Eurostat did mention some postive points in its report. For example, unemployment in the eurozone reached record lows last year, and the number of European jobs rose in the third quarter of 2023.



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