Prices keep going up. According to the provisional data released this Tuesday by the National Institute of Statistics ( INE ), inflation has risen two tenths in February, to register a general rate of 6.1% . This is the second consecutive month of rise , which coincides with the second month of reduction in VAT on food. Statistics attributes the rise to the rise in the price of electricity and food and non-alcoholic beverages. For its part, subjacent inflation -without counting energy and unprocessed food- has risen to 7.7%, registering a new maximum in the historical series.
If confirmed, the CPI variation for February is the highest since last November , when the downward trend in inflation placed the interannual rate at 6.8%. The provisional data is 4.7 points lower than the peak registered in July, when it reached a rate of 10.8%, the highest level in the historical series, since September 1984. In monthly terms, compared to January , prices grew 1% in February, the highest monthly variation since June (1.9%) and the highest monthly rate for a month of February in 45 years .
The year-on-year increase of two tenths of a percentage point in the general rate is repeated in underlying inflation , which does not take into account the price of unprocessed food and energy due to their high volatility. In his case, the change in the underlying CPI has gone from 7.5% in January to 7.7% in February. The provisional data breaks for the third consecutive month the maximum of the historical series , which includes the evolution of the index since December 1986. With this increase, the distance of 1.6 points between the underlying rate and the general rate is maintained, the latter by below.
The Minister of Finance and Public Function,María Jesús Montero, has removed weight from the “small” increase in the CPI and has affirmed that “it will be corrected in the coming weeks and months”. The socialist has defended that inflation “more or less is maintained” in the terms of last month and has remarked that the Government already anticipated this behavior. President Pedro SánchezHe himself admitted on Monday that Spain will suffer “a slight rebound” in inflation in the coming weeks due to the rise in energy prices, to drop later. The economic forecasts of the European CommissionThey suggest that throughout 2023 prices will moderate to 4.4%, but they warn that the core will continue to bulge during the first half of the year.
rebound in food
According to the Statistical preview, the upward behavior of prices is due to the rise in the cost of electricity , which contrasts with the decrease registered in February 2022, since food and non-alcoholic beverages have become more expensive than they were. They did it a year ago, despite theVATreduction in force since January 1. The measure approved by the Government to alleviate the price of the shopping cart has not been without controversy, due to its timid final impact on supermarket shelves.
In fact, in the first month of application of the VAT reduction, the CPI for food barely fell three tenths in interannual terms (15.4%) and advanced in monthly terms by 0.4% compared to the data for December. After knowing the figures, the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Luis Planas, met last week with the food sector , which he asked for “an effort” to lower the price of the shopping basket , ruling out taking new measures for part of the government. Farmers question the arrival of this price drop . “Production costs are not falling,” they argue.
The year-on-year drop in the CPI for fuel and passenger transport has not been able to offset the rise in electricity and food. The decrease in the price of public transport is the result of the free passes launched by the Government and supplemented by the autonomous communities.