• Moderation of unprocessed foods and stability in processed and services
  • The CPI increased one tenth to constant taxes, up to 0.7% in annual rate

The Consumer Price Index (CPI) recorded a monthly increase of 0.2% in February, compared to a slightly smaller increase (0.1%) than a year earlier. The annual rate thus rose one tenth, up to 2.8%, according to data published today by the National Statistics Institute (INE). This increase was due to the acceleration of the prices of energy products and, to a lesser extent, of Non-Energy Industrial Goods (BINES), partially offset by the moderation of unprocessed foods. On the other hand, both services and processed food maintained their respective annual rates.

Energy products have resumed their upward trend in February and have recorded an increase of 0.6 percentage points in their annual rate, up to 5.9%. This has been contributed by its main item, fuels and fuels, which has increased its annual rate by 0.9 percentage points, to 5.1%. On the other hand, fresh foods have moderated their annual rate significantly, by 1.2 percentage points, up to 3.1%, due to the slowdown in the prices of some meats, such as sheep and beef, and legumes and fresh vegetables, which have offset the increases in fish and fresh fruits.

As for the groups that are part of the most stable core of the index, the so-called core inflation, highlights the progress of the BINES by one tenth, up to 1.4% in annual rate. Within this category, the item of medicines and therapeutic material stands out, which has increased 1.6% in the month and has placed its annual rate at 26.2%, almost 2 points more than the previous month. Processed foods, meanwhile, have maintained their annual rate at 3.6%, although with disparate behaviors. The main upward pressure has come from oils and fats, which place their annual rate at 19.1%, 1.1 points higher than in January. On the contrary, milk registered an annual price increase of 1.2%, lower by 5 tenths than in January. Finally, service prices have also maintained their annual rate, at 2.2%, because certain bullish items such as medical services (2.1%) and transport (2.8%) have been compensated with the moderation of home services (1.7%).

As a result of this evolution, core inflation also increased one tenth, up to 2.3%, mainly reflecting the slight acceleration of BINES. This increase in core inflation is what has finally determined the rebound in one tenth of the CPI. The external components of core inflation (energy and fresh food) have evolved in opposite directions and have offset their contributions to the index variation.

Regarding the monthly variation of the CPI, the increase has been 0.2%. It mainly responds to energy products in the heading of fuels and fuels (2.3%); processed food (0.3%), the result of the upward pressure of oils, canned fruits and nuts; and services (0.2%), as a result of the advancement of tourism and hospitality and urban public transport. On the contrary, there has been a decrease of 0.3% in BINES, as a result of the fall, of a seasonal nature, of clothing and footwear (-1.8%), due to the latest effects of winter sales, and Fresh food prices (-1.1%), which include falls in sheepmeat (-7.5%) and fresh and frozen fish (-3.2%).

The Autonomous Communities with the highest annual inflation rate in February were Cantabria (with 3.6%), Catalonia (with 3.3%) and Balearic Islands (3.1%). The least inflationary communities were Melilla (1.2%), Ceuta (1.7%), Canary Islands (2%), Madrid (2.5%) and Navarra (2.5%).

The annual rate of the CPI at constant taxes increased one tenth in February, to 0.7%, and the underlying rate another tenth, to 0.3%. Within this index, the annual energy rate was 3.1% (2.4% in January) and that of fresh food was 2.1% (3.3% in January). Within the inflation underlying constant taxes, the prices of BINES fell 0.7%, food grew 2.1% and the prices of services 0.2%, rates that show an evolution similar to those of the same groups in the general CPI.

The INE has also published the harmonized CPI (CPI) for February, whose annual rate stands at 2.9%, one tenth above that of the previous month. When compared with the annual rate estimated by Eurostat for the whole euro zone (1.8%), the unfavorable differential to Spain would increase by three tenths to stand at 1.1 points. The HICP at constant taxes stood at 0.8%, one tenth more than in January.

In short, the month of February has shown a certain price stability. The main determinants of inflation point towards moderation throughout the year. The correction of inflation levels will be especially intense as the steps due to regulatory and tax measures introduced between the months of July and September 2012 are discounted.

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