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Eurozone inflation drops to 6.1 pct in May

Christian Fernsby |
Euro area annual inflation is expected to be 6.1% in May 2023, down from 7.0% in April according to a flash estimate from Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union.

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Looking at the main components of euro area inflation, food, alcohol & tobacco is expected to have the highest annual rate in May (12.5%, compared with 13.5% in April), followed by non-energy industrial goods (5.8%, compared with 6.2% in April), services (5.0%, compared with 5.2% in April) and energy (-1.7%, compared with 2.4% in April).

The EU member states with the highest yearly inflation rates in May included Latvia and Slovakia (12.3 percent for both) and Estonia and Lithuania (11.2 percent and 10.7 percent, respectively).

The annual inflation rates were the lowest in Luxembourg, Belgium and Spain (2 percent, 2.7 percent and 2.9 percent, respectively).

The downward trend in prices is "quite a relief," Bert Colijn, senior economist for the eurozone at ING, commented.

"The key drivers of inflation have turned for the better in recent months, which is starting to be reflected in the data," he said.

Regarding food prices, Colijn noted that despite the high yearly inflation rate, monthly contributions were down sharply in April and May.

Non-energy industrial goods prices have decreased year-on-year, benefiting from falling producer prices, easing input shortages and weak demand, according to Colijn.

Energy prices, which spiked during the COVID-19 pandemic and after the outbreak of the conflict in Ukraine, are now close to pre-2021 levels, hence the negative growth, he said.

The annual inflation rate for services was also lower in May than in April, Colijn noted, which is "surprising" as the sector has been performing better.

Exceeding expectations, core inflation also fell from 5.6 percent in April to 5.3 percent in May.

However, this downward trend in inflation could be slowed down by a growing pressure for higher wages, Colijn said.


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