Price pressures building

Euro-zone inflation looks set to rise sharply in the coming months as energy inflation shoots up and core inflation edges higher. Indeed, the PMI surveys suggest that manufacturing input prices are rising at their fastest pace in nearly a decade, which reflects movements in oil prices as well as a long list of input shortages, from steel to semiconductors. While the PMIs imply that firms aren’t fully passing those cost increases onto customers, some price increases seem likely. What’s more, when lockdowns are lifted, clothing and holiday prices – which fell particularly sharply last year – should rebound too. We think that all of this will drive headline inflation above 2% in the second half of the year. But since most of these effects should be temporary, we expect inflation to drop back to around 1% in 2022.
Andrew Kenningham Chief Europe Economist
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European Economics Weekly

ECB’s line on inflation contrasts with the Fed’s

In contrast to those at the US Fed, ECB policymakers are not ready to retire their argument that the current bout of high inflation is temporary. This reflects the significant difference in inflationary pressures between the two economies. Next week, we will get the detailed breakdown of November’s German inflation data, which will shed more light on the stronger-than-expected outturn. Meanwhile, with less than two weeks to go until December’s ECB meeting, the Governing Council appears to have reached a consensus on some aspects of its asset purchase programmes. But comments from Christine Lagarde today suggest that it will avoid making any long-term commitments.

3 December 2021

European Data Response

Euro-zone Retail Sales (Oct) & Final PMIs (Nov.)

Euro-zone retail sales have levelled off since June, but rising Covid cases and the return of restrictions are likely to weigh on sales and other components of consumption in the coming months.

3 December 2021

European Data Response

EZ Unemployment (Oct.)

While labour market conditions continued to improve in October, the recent deterioration of the Covid situation and increased uncertainty due to the Omicron variant are likely to mean the recovery takes a breather over the next couple of months, just as it did when restrictions were in place at the start of 2021.

2 December 2021

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ECB’s new target marks death of Bundesbank tradition

If confirmed, the ECB’s decision to adopt a 2% inflation target and allow room to overshoot it if needed would mark a historic shift towards the mainstream for the ECB. It would have no immediate implications for monetary policy, but in the longer run may imply policy would be looser for longer.

8 July 2021

European Chart Book

Activity taking off as hospitality reopens

The economy has continued to rebound strongly as governments have lifted almost all restrictions on retail and restaurants and eased rules on foreign travel. Restaurant bookings are back above pre-pandemic levels and the number of flights is rising steeply (no pun intended!). This rebound is likely to put a bit more pressure on inflation, which looks set to resume its upward course in the second half of the year after pausing in June. The latest statements from key policymakers suggest that the ECB is in no hurry to scale back its asset purchases, but we think the Governing Council will begin to taper its bond-buying in the coming months.

7 July 2021

European Data Response

German Industrial Production (May)

The small decline in German industrial production in May, which left it well below its pre-pandemic level, was due to another big fall in vehicle production. The problems in that, admittedly important, sector are likely to be resolved only gradually, but otherwise the German economy is recovering strongly.

7 July 2021
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