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Economy in Brief

CPI Data Show Some Relief for Energy in October
by Carol Stone November 10, 2005

Several countries reported CPI data today for October.A common feature of all the countries we examined was a tempering of inflation as energy prices backed off their storm-related highs of September.

In France and Denmark, the October CPI actually declined 0.1% in the month, following 0.4% increases in both countries in September.For France, tellingly, the subset of the CPI excluding energy was flat in both months.

Ireland's total CPI rose 0.2% in October after 0.8% in September.It is seen to experience somewhat higher inflation trends overall than the others of these countries.Finally, in Norway, the total CPI was flat following September's 0.3% rise.

Clearly, one month need not mark a turning point in inflation trends. But this is welcome relief however long it lasts.We have noted all along how relatively immune other prices have been to the energy situation.This agreeable circumstance may yet change, given the squeeze on business operating margins that has already taken place from the surge in energy.Demand responses could well limit the ultimate pass-through, though, as sluggish economies in Europe also have little capacity to shoulder further price burdens.

As a footnote, the individual months' figures we quote here are seasonally adjusted data found in Haver's G10 database.This database is a summary compilation of major data in major countries, the well-known G10, plus Australia, Austria, other Nordic nations, Ireland, Spain and so on.In that database Haver performs some additional seasonal adjustment of data beyond that provided by many countries.The more comprehensive databases covering individual countries consist largely in data provided by the countries' official statistics sources, which we do not augment, while G10 is a database we compile ourselves for the convenience of having a quick summary of large countries, but with a modest amount of detail.

CPI, % Changes, SA* Oct 2005 Sept 2005 Aug 2005  Oct 2004** 
2004 2003 2002
France -0.1 0.4 0.3 1.8 2.1 2.2 2.3
  Ex Energy 0.0 0.0 0.5 1.0 1.5 2.4 2.1
Ireland 0.2 0.8 0.3 3.0 2.6 1.9 5.0
Denmark -0.1 0.4 0.2 2.0 1.2 1.4 2.5
Norway 0.0 0.3 0.5 1.8 1.1 0.6 2.8
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