Explosive rise in inflation to 4.8% in November – Record increase in gas

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Inflation in our country jumped again in November as it reached 4.8% (close to 4.9% of the Eurozone) from 3.4% in October and 2.2% in September, a trend which foretells a further increase in the index the next months.

According to the data published today by the Hellenic Statistical Authority, the General Consumer Price Index, from month to month (November to October 2021) showed an increase of 0.5% compared to a decrease of 0.9% in the corresponding comparison of the previous year .
Inflation was fueled by the appreciation of almost all services and consumer goods, due to large increases in energy products (oil, gas, etc.) and transport.

According to the Authority, the increases of + 180% in natural gas compared to November 2020, + 45.2% in heating oil and + 37.8% in electricity. There is an increase of 21.3% in prices for lamb and goat, 18.5% for olive oil and 11% for potatoes.
Fuels and lubricants increased by 24.9%, hotel prices by 12.8% and air transport by 12.8%.

More specifically, on an annual basis, large ones were recorded raises in the following groups of goods and services:

• 3.5% in the group Food and non-alcoholic beverages, due mainly to increase in prices of: bread, other bakery and confectionery products, pasta, beef, poultry, lamb and goat, meat preparations, fresh fish, cheese, olive oil , other edible oils, fresh fruits, fresh vegetables, potatoes, chocolates, chocolate products, coffee.

• 3.9% in the Clothing and footwear group, due to price increases in clothing and footwear.

• 17.7% in the Housing group, mainly due to price increases in: housing, electricity, gas, heating oil.

• 2.3% in the group Durable goods-Household items and services, due mainly to the increase of prices in: furniture and decorative items, glass-tableware and household utensils, household goods, household services.

• 9.3% in the Transport group, due mainly to price increases in: fuels and lubricants, new cars, airline passenger tickets.

• 0.9% in the Education group, mainly due to the increase in the prices of secondary education tuition fees.

• 1.3% in the Hotels-Cafes-Restaurants group, due mainly to price increases in: restaurants-patisseries-cafes, hotels-motels-inns.

On the other side reductions noted:

• 0.1% in the group Alcoholic beverages and tobacco, due mainly to a reduction in wine prices.

• 0.1% in the Health group, due mainly to a reduction in prices for medicinal products. Part of this decrease was offset by the increase mainly in prices for dental services.

• 2.7% in the Communications group, due mainly to the reduction of prices in: telephone services, mobile telephone equipment.

• 0.3% in the group Leisure-Cultural activities, due mainly to a reduction in prices for durable leisure goods.

• 0.7% in the group Other goods and services, due mainly to the reduction of prices in: other types of personal care.

It is almost certain that the surge in prices will intensify during the festive season, leading to a new “red” inflation record of more than eleven years recorded for the month of November.
According to the forecasts of economists (of particular interest is a recent study by the National Bank) the cycle of revaluations will continue in the first quarter of the new year.

The National estimates that: the annual change of the CPI is expected to approach 4.5% in the 4th quarter of 2021 and to exceed 5% in the 1st quarter of 2022, falling to 3.5% in the 2nd quarter and to 0.6% , on average in the second half of 2022. Overall, the annual change in the index is estimated to be around 2.5% in 2022. The government’s budget forecast is for inflation of 0.5% this year and 1% for 2022.

The government’s financial staff is watching developments on the inflation front with concern, but has stated its readiness for new interventions to support households if this is deemed necessary. In any case, everything will depend on the range of price increases (mainly on energy products) but also the budgetary margins left by the budget.
It is more likely that the interventions with the subsidies in electricity and gas will be maintained after December, but with the introduction of income and property criteria and not with horizontal policies.

Reportage: Costas Tsavalos

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