On Thursday, the European statistical office Eurostat revised its first estimate for inflation in the euro area in January slightly upwards. The inflation rate was therefore 8.6 instead of 8.5 percent. In December, the rate was 9.2 percent.

Christian Siedenbiedel

Editor in business.

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Behind this upgrade was an unusual process: In January, for the first time in living memory, Germany did not publish its inflation rate on time. Behind this are said to have been software problems at the Federal Statistical Office.

Eurostat then decided not to postpone the publication of its inflation rate for the euro area, for which a German value is actually needed, but to estimate the German rate. The result was then one of the values that ECB President Christine Lagarde cited after the February meeting of the ECB Governing Council to justify the interest rate hike by 0.5 percentage points. Eurostat never revealed how the German rate had been estimated at the time; Economists, however, bet on 8.6 percent. In fact, according to the European calculation method of the Harmonised Index of Consumer Prices HICP, inflation was significantly higher at 9.2 percent.

Lower energy price inflation

Energy prices continue to rise the most for the year, albeit at a slower pace than in previous months. At the beginning of the year, the upward pressure on food prices intensified further, as it was 14.1 percent more expensive than a year ago.

Core inflation, which excludes volatile energy and food prices, was also slightly higher in January than previously known. Eurostat revised the annual rate to 5.3 percent from 5.2 percent previously. Core inflation thus remains at its highest level since the introduction of the euro and shows that the strong upward pressure on prices does not only affect energy and raw materials.

With the high inflation rate in the eurozone, the European Central Bank's medium-term price target of two percent will continue to be clearly exceeded. The central bank has recently fought against high inflation with interest rate hikes of 0.50 percentage points. At the interest rate meeting in mid-March, the financial markets are also firmly expecting a 0.50-point increase in key interest rates.