After sharp declines in November, December and January, thanks to a lull in energy prices (electricity, gas, oil), the slowdown in inflation came to a halt last month. Euro zone annual inflation fell in February for the fourth consecutive month, to 8.5% year-on-year, from 8.6% in January, according to Eurostat. But experts surveyed by Factset and Bloomberg expected a rate of 8.2% and 8.3% respectively.

It is explained first of all by the acceleration of food prices. Up 15% year-on-year in February, they have become the main driver of inflation, overtaking energy, whose tariffs have risen by an average of 13.7%, according to data published Thursday by the European statistics office. Meanwhile, industrial goods prices rose 6.8% year-on-year last month, 0.2 percentage points higher than in January. In services, inflation also accelerated slightly to 4.4% (+0.2 points).

Among the 20 euro area countries, the lowest inflation rates in February were recorded in Luxembourg (4.8%) and Belgium (5.5%). The France (7.2%) is still among the best-off countries, doing much better than Italy (9.9%) or Germany (9.3%). As in previous months, inflation was highest in the Baltic countries, Latvia (20.1%), Estonia (17.8%) and Lithuania (17.2%), according to harmonised Eurostat data.

  • Economy
  • Euro area
  • Inflation