Inflation, fruit and vegetables cost more. Skyrocketing prices for vegetables (+18%), tomatoes and pears


By John

Inflation contained in January but not for fresh fruit and vegetables which cost more and more. For vegetables, the price increases reached 18.1% compared to a year earlieraccording to the definitive data released by Istat. And tomatoes and pears increased by more than 20%. Seasonal products such as oranges and apples are also more expensive by 6% and 8.3% compared to the previous year. In general, however, the increase in consumer prices is moderate and the inflation rate rises to 0.8% in January from 0.6% in December, in what Istat defines as a “slight rebound”, confirming preliminary estimates . The prices of regulated energy goods fell, although much less than the previous month (-20.6%). But tensions on food prices continue and the increases in transport services are weighing on them. Alarmed consumer associations estimate an impact on food spending of over 450 euros per year for a family of four. The annual price increases for the shopping cart, which in addition to food products includes those for home and personal care, are 5.1%. They are down compared to the previous month but are still more than six times higher than the overall inflation rate. Also at a European level, Eurostat confirmed its estimates on price trends in January. The harmonized inflation rate in the euro area fell to 2.8% from 2.9% in the previous month, moving closer to the European Central Bank’s target of a level slightly above 2%. A year earlier, inflation was much higher, at 8.6%. On forecasts for the future, however, and consequently on possible interest rate cuts, the ECB’s line remains oriented towards prudence.

In the minutes of the monetary policy meeting of 24 and 25 January, the Eurotower notes that inflation data have recently been consistently below expected levels, suggesting a “faster than expected disinflationary” process but the outlook “remains particularly nebulae in the short term.” There would therefore have been a “broad consensus” among the members of the Governing Council on the fact that it was premature to discuss rate cuts. The risk to be avoided would be that of having to then reverse course, in the event that economic activity recovered more than expected , wage growth were to accelerate or new inflationary pressures were to emerge. And to have to pay for high reputational costs. The European line appears to be in tune with that prevailing overseas, according to the minutes of the Fed meeting of 30 and 31 January, when the majority of members of the US central bank have signaled the risks of cutting rates too quickly and fears of a possible stall in inflation progress. In the European context, Italy is among the countries with the most contained price dynamics and a harmonized rate of 0.9 %, while in Spain, for example, it is 3.5%, in France 3.4% and in Germany 3.1%. Within the national territory, however, there are large differences. Naples was the inflation capital in January, with annual price increases of 1.9%. Followed, a short distance away, by Perugia and Trieste. While in four cities the price lists are actually decreasing: Modena, Ancona, Reggio Emilia and Campobasso. In the latter case deflation reaches -0.7%. Meanwhile, the selection of the new president of Istat has begun with the publication of a public notice online. Interested full professors in statistics, economics and related subjects with international experience have 30 days to submit their application with a certified e-mail. After the failure to confirm Gian Carlo Blangiardo as head of the Institute of Statistics for a new mandate, since March last year the institute has been led by Francesco Maria Chelli as acting president.