Eurozone: Consumer prices remain unchanged in annual terms, end three months of decline
April 30, 2015
According to a flash estimate released by Eurostat on 30 April, harmonized consumer prices (HICP) in the Eurozone were unchanged over the same month last year in April (March: -0.1% year-on-year). The flat reading, which matched market expectations, put an end to four consecutive months of decline in consumer prices and eased fears that the Euro area could fall into a sustained period of falling prices. Although inflation has, in recent months, been in what ECB President Mario Draghi called the “danger zone” of below 1.0% for the 19th consecutive month, the bottoming out of price declines is likely to be welcome news for the European Central Bank. Month-on-month price variations and a more detailed set of data will be provided on 19 May.
Meanwhile, complete data showed that consumer prices in March jumped 1.1% over the previous month, which came in above the 0.6% increase observed in February. Despite the increase, consumer prices fell 0.1% annually. At a country level, 9 of the 19 Eurozone economies posted annual inflation rates equal to or below the regional average. Greece (-1.9%) Cyprus (-1.4%) and Lithuania (-1.1%) recorded the lowest annual inflation rates. At the other end of the spectrum, Austria (+0.9%) and Malta (+0.5%) showed the highest year-on-year increases in harmonized consumer prices. Among the remaining major economies in the Eurozone, in Germany consumer prices rose 0.1% annually in February, while in France prices were unchanged over the same month last year. In Italy, harmonized consumer prices were also flat over a year ago, while in Spain they fell 0.8%.
Author: Ricardo Aceves, Senior Economist