Inflation at 6.3% in France in February, slightly higher than forecast, due to soaring food prices

Acceleration increases a little more than expected. Inflation reached 6.3% year-on-year in France in February, driven by soaring food prices, which have become its primary driver ahead of energy, according to a final estimate revised slightly higher on Wednesday March 15 by the Insee.

The National Institute of Statistics had previously estimated the rise in consumer prices at 6.2% over one year in February, which already marked an acceleration compared to January (6%).

“This rise in inflation is due to the acceleration in food prices”, which jumped 14.8% over one year (after 13.3% in January), he detailed in a press release. Both fresh products (15%), especially vegetables and fruit, and non-fresh products (14.8%) such as bread, cereals, meat, sugar, jam, chocolate or drinks, are affected by this trend.

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The prices of services (3% after 2.6%) – catering, accommodation, transport, rents, etc. – and manufactured goods (4.7% after 4.5%) such as furniture and toys also continued to rise.

Slowdown in energy prices

Conversely, energy prices slowed (14.1% after 16.3% in January), mainly due to a slowdown in petroleum products and gas. Those of electricity, on the other hand, were driven by the capped increase in regulated tariffs.

Core inflation, which excludes the most volatile elements such as energy and certain food products, and thus makes it possible to identify an underlying trend in price movements, rose to 6.1% over a year in February, after 5.6% in January.

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Since the take-off in consumer prices, under the effect of the disruptions in post-Covid supply chains and then the war in Ukraine, the inflation rate has returned to levels not seen since the 1980s. It should gradually fall back to 5% in June, INSEE predicted in early February. The Harmonized Index of Consumer Prices (HICP), used for Europe-wide comparisons, stood at 7.3% year on year in February, down from 7% in January.

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The World with AFP

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