German Inflation Revised Down

I like this title. I have, I unashamedly admit, lifted it straight from NTC research (where it was in any event hardly the most creatively original of headers). I like it since it seems to run counter in spirit to all those admonishing lectures we are currently getting about the dangers of ‘secondary inflation’ and pass-through. The headline refers to the fact that Germany’s EU-harmonised annual inflation rate (HICP) for September was revised down to 2.6 percent from an initial 2.7 percent, the Federal Statistics Office announced on Wednesday. Actually this revision is something of a statistical freak as the reading in question was the harmonised consumer price index for Germany, which is calculated for European purposes. In fact AP runs a different headline: German Inflation Rate Climbs in September, which doesn’t really prove that there are lies, damn lies and statistics, but rather that we have a labyrinth of statistical indices at work – AP quote the straight national CPI, and not the harmonised index. Anyway, if you can battle your way through all this, well good luck to you!

Much more to the point, however, is the detail that , not considering heating oil and motor fuel, the rate of price increase would have been just 1.6%. Inflation scare? Where? Oh yes, I forgot, in Spain and Greece.

As reported by the Federal Statistical Office, the consumer price index for Germany rose by 2.5% in September 2005 on September 2004, and by 0.4% on August 2005. That is the highest year-on-year rate of increase for more than four years (May 2001: +2.7%). In July and August 2005, the year-on-year rates of change were +2.0% and +1.9%, respectively. The estimate for September 2005 based on the results from six Länder was thus confirmed.

The year-on-year rate of price increase was strongly influenced by the sustained price increase for energy in September 2005. In that month, price increases were recorded primarily for mineral oil products again. Not considering heating oil and motor fuel, the rate of price increase would have been just 1.6%. Domestic fuel prices were up 40.0% compared with the same month a year earlier.
Source: German Federal Statistical Office

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About Edward Hugh

Edward 'the bonobo is a Catalan economist of British extraction. After being born, brought-up and educated in the United Kingdom, Edward subsequently settled in Barcelona where he has now lived for over 15 years. As a consequence Edward considers himself to be "Catalan by adoption". He has also to some extent been "adopted by Catalonia", since throughout the current economic crisis he has been a constant voice on TV, radio and in the press arguing in favor of the need for some kind of internal devaluation if Spain wants to stay inside the Euro. By inclination he is a macro economist, but his obsession with trying to understand the economic impact of demographic changes has often taken him far from home, off and away from the more tranquil and placid pastures of the dismal science, into the bracken and thicket of demography, anthropology, biology, sociology and systems theory. All of which has lead him to ask himself whether Thomas Wolfe was not in fact right when he asserted that the fact of the matter is "you can never go home again".