ECONOMY

January inflation at an 11-year high

Price index advanced 5.5% in January, according to Eurostat, with no end to hikes in sight yet

January inflation at an 11-year high

Inflation is breaking record after record in Greece, with the wave of price hikes growing even larger last month, taking the European Union harmonized index to 5.5%, the bloc’s statistical service, Eurostat, announced on Wednesday.

Worse, there is no sign of this wave abating yet, as the cost of electricity, food and agricultural raw materials remains high, and is now followed by hikes in liquid fuel. The recent cold snap has already triggered price increases in fresh fruit and vegetables, while geopolitical developments in Eastern Europe – and the mounting tension between Russia and Ukraine – leave little room for hope for a decline in energy rates anytime soon.

Eurostat estimates indicated that the Greek inflation rate rose by more than one percentage point in a single month, from 4.4% in December 2021. If the estimate of the European statistics service is confirmed when the Hellenic Statistical Authority publishes its data on February 15, the index will have recorded its highest reading in the last 11 years. The last time it had climbed so high was in September 2010, hitting 5.7%.

Furthermore, Greece is no longer one of the EU states with the smallest hikes, as in January it showed the seventh highest consumer price index increase among the 19 eurozone members. The average rate in the euro area came to 5.1% last month.

These figures appear to be confirmed in the local market. IRI market researchers found that supermarket prices in the week that ended on January 16 had risen by 5% from the same period in 2021. Food prices in general showed a 1% year-on-year increase, but in dairy products and packaged food the hike came to 3% and in soft drinks, tea and coffee to 2%. In commodities outside the food category, the rises averaged at a remarkable 11%.

The Development Ministry’s Fuel Price Observatory, meanwhile, showed that on Tuesday the average rate of gasoline came to 1.831 euros per liter (against €1.746/lt a month earlier) and diesel to €1.572/lt (from €1.481/lt).