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Economy in Brief

HICP Trends Show Pressure
by Robert Brusca July 16, 2007

The chart on select core HICP readings violates the rule on how many lines to plot on a graph (sorry). But the clear message is that few of these are trending lower and most are trending up. Among those that have any trend lower, there is usually abysmally high inflation rate anyway (Greece and Spain, for example).

The table below presents the discernable detail on core inflation trends on data that were not available last week. The table shows that inflation is accelerating in too many countries for comfort. In the same table we slice the data into a number of 12-month periods ended in June since that is the most recent observation.

As of June 2007 inflation was accelerating in half of the select 12 EMU members. Over the past year inflation also was higher on a year/year basis in seven countries than it had been in June of 2004. Any way you look at the inflation comparisons there is a hint of inflation. And these data look at core prices excluding the direct effects of food and energy inflation. These four presentations, the chars and the table below, make it clear why the ECB remains wary about inflation forces.

Inflation is simply trending higher into many categories to be ignored and across too many EMU countries to assume that it will go down all by itself.

Euro area Select Members: Core Inflation Yr/Yr
Jun-07 Jun-06 Jun-05 Jun-04
Austria 1.9% 1.3% 1.6% 1.6%
Belgium 1.7% 1.7% 1.4% 1.3%
Finland 1.4% 0.8% 0.6% -0.4%
France 1.4% 1.4% 1.2% 2.5%
Germany 2.1% 0.8% 0.8% 1.8%
Greece 2.9% 3.0% 2.9% 3.6%
Ireland 2.4% 2.1% 1.7% 2.0%
Italy 1.8% 1.8% 1.9% 2.4%
Luxembourg 2.3% 2.3% 2.5% 2.7%
The Netherlands 1.5% 0.8% 0.6% 1.3%
Portugal 2.4% 2.5% 0.2% 3.9%
Spain 2.4% 3.1% 2.5% 2.9%
EMU Core HICP 1.9% 2.5% 1.9% 2.4%
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