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Financial News: Eurozone Inflation Accelerates, Retail Sales Recover

Eurozone Inflation Accelerates, Retail Sales Recover

01/07/2020 - 07:32:00 (RTTNews)

(RTTNews) - Eurozone inflation accelerated in December largely driven by food and energy prices, but continued to remain below the central bank target, flash data from Eurostat showed on Tuesday.

Underpinned by food and non-food product sales, retail sales volume rebounded at a faster-than-expected pace in November.

Inflation rose to 1.3 percent in December, as expected, from 1 percent in November. A similar higher rate was last seen in June.

Headline inflation remained well below the European Central Bank's target of "below, but close to 2 percent."

"Inflation data will provide some relief to policymakers at the ECB, but we are still skeptical that core inflation is about to start on a sustained upward trend," Jack Allen-Reynolds, an economist at Capital Economics, noted. The bank's is more likely to loosen policy further than to tighten.

Depending on oil price developments, which are likely to be volatile as Middle East tensions have spiked recently, it is expected that inflation could trend somewhat higher than the 1 percent range for the coming months, Bert Colijn, an ING economist, said.

Core inflation that excludes energy, food, alcohol and tobacco, held steady at 1.3 percent in December.

Among main components of inflation, food, alcohol and tobacco logged the highest annual rate of 2 percent, followed by a 1.8 percent rise in services. Non-energy industrial goods prices advanced 0.4 percent for the second straight month.

Energy prices rose 0.2 percent in December after easing for four straight months.

On a monthly basis, consumer prices gained 0.3 percent, in line with expectations, and core consumer prices increased 0.4 percent. Another report from Eurostat revealed that retail sales increased for the first time in three months in November.

Retail trade rebounded 1 percent monthly, in contrast to a 0.3 percent drop logged in September and October. Economists had forecast a monthly growth of 0.5 percent.

Sales of food, drinks and tobacco advanced 0.7 percent and non-food product sales climbed 1.4 percent. Meanwhile, automotive fuel in specialized stores sales decreased 1 percent in November.

On a yearly basis, growth in retail sales improved to 2.2 percent from 1.7 percent in October.

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