that’s why it’s a “bad sign”

Bad news for consumers: Inflation rises again in January. According to preliminary Istat estimates released today, the national consumer price index for the entire community (NIC), including tobacco, increases in January by 0.3% on monthly basis and 0.8% on an annual basis (from +0.6% in the previous month). While underlying inflation“, net of energy and fresh food, decelerates from +3.1% to +2.8% and that net of energy goods only from +3.4% to +3.1%.

Inflation accelerates in January

The assets of the so-called also rose slightly “shopping cart”. The prices of food, household and personal care goods increase slightly on a trend basis from +5.3% to +5.4%, while those of high-frequency purchase products slow down (from +4.4 December % at +3.6%). Contributing to the acceleration of inflation are “the persistence of tensions on the prices of unprocessed food goods” as well as “the price trend of energy goodsthe regulated ones, whose decline on a trend basis was, in January, attenuated due to the statistical effect due to the unfavorable comparison with January 2023″.

The rise in annual inflation (+0.8% in January) like the declines in previous months, is misleading since, as Istat also claims, it is mainly due to a statistical effect, i.e. the collapse in electricity and gas prices which was recorded in January 2023 after the peaks of the fourth quarter of 2022. What should instead be alarming is the increase on a monthly basis of 0.3%, higher than the +0.2% in December and opposite to the decrease of 0.5% in November” , he says in a note Massimiliano Dona, president of the National Consumers Union. “In particular – he adds – the monthly jump of 0.9% is worrying Food products and non-alcoholic drinksand, three times as much as the +0.3% of December”. “For a couple with two children, the traditional family of the past, the inflation of food products, considering the trend figure of 5.9%, means having to spend 474 euros more on an annual basis for eating and drinking, a figure equal to 430 euros for a couple with one child and which rises to 563 euros for a couple with 3 children. For this reason – concludes Dona – the Government should intervene with supply chain agreements for all those products that are experiencing anomalous and unjustified increases in prices”.

“Bad signal”

Also along the same lines Codacons. The Istat data on inflation unfortunately confirm the alarms on the trend of retail prices, and must lead the Government to intervene to limit the effects of price increases and combat speculation on price lists, we read in the note commenting on the preliminary data released today by Institute of Statistics. “In just one month the prices of food and non-alcoholic drinks increased by +0.9%an extremely worrying sign since these are primary goods that families cannot do without – explains the president of Codacons, Carlo Rienzi – strong increases on an annual basis are also recorded for accommodation and catering services (+4.1%), while the shopping cart accelerates to +5.4%. Price increases which come on top of two years of heavy inflation which has reduced citizens’ purchasing capacity and significantly changed family consumption.” “This is why we ask the Government to put prices at the center of its agenda – concludes Rienzi – by adopting measures truly capable of reducing inflation and combating the speculation that is often at the basis of price increases”.

Less alarming tones from the Research Office Confcommercio : “As expected, inflation showed a small rebound in January, going, according to provisional estimates, from 0.6% in December to 0.8% (our estimate +0.7%). The data confirms Italy, also on the basis of the harmonized index, as the country which, among the large ones in the eurozone, has made the greatest progress in terms of reducing inflationary dynamics. The current picture remains rather reassuring, despite the presence of moderate elements of tension on some energy goods and on food, in the unprocessed component”. “In Europe, the harmonized index, also thanks to the sales season in some countries, is generally decreasing. Core inflation is slowing. There are the conditions, therefore, for a less restrictive monetary policy by the ECB. The combination of these factors – inflation under control and a reduction in key rates – could give some impetus to consumption and investments, a crucial point in a context of international weakness, making any budget correction that will probably be necessary less painful in Italy”,

Comments

Just as cautious is the comment of Confessors. Inflation is rearing its head again, also due to international tensions that are starting to have an impact on supply chains. The rise recorded by Istat in January, however, does not jeopardize the ongoing price reduction process. “As we had anticipated in the previous months, the climate of uncertainty could not fail to also have an effect on the inflationary dynamic. Also because the disinflationary process underway in the second half of 2023 was undoubtedly positive, but largely the result of both a statistical effect resulting from the comparison with the months of 2022 of a strong surge in prices, and a process of slowing down of the price of commodities and, in particular, of energy” we read in the note. “Despite the rise at the beginning of the year, however, today’s reading is still in line with a robust decline in inflationary dynamics, even if the fateful level of 2% is unlikely to be reached in 2024, instead placing the value more plausibly at around 2.5%. %, moreover in a scenario characterized by the persistence of strong tensions on world markets due above all to extra-economic events”.

“For this reason, we hope that it will not be a few decimals that reverse a course – which is not yet clearly traced – of easing monetary conditions, with the risk of turning a situation that is still unresolved into a tailspin: we need to start reducing the cost of money, which it is the real burden that negatively affects families and businesses, to give a breath of fresh air to the economy” states the trade association.

Support consumption and businesses

For Federdistribuzione “the data released by Istat relating to consumer prices for the month of January highlight, compared to the previous month, a slightly growing general inflation index with +0.8% on an annual basis, while the shopping cart marks a slight increase with a +5.4% on a trend basis”

“Inflation, which is rising slightly, is currently not excessively affected by the recent geopolitical critical issues whose evolution will need to be monitored over time, but by factors relating to regulated energy goods and, for the shopping cart, by the persistence of tensions on goods unprocessed foods. In any case, we remain in a context characterized by weak consumption and significant changes in the purchasing habits of families to deal with the inflationary effects, and the Modern Distribution companies, after having supported with a sense of responsibility the initiative of the ‘Anti-Anti-Quarter’ -inflation’, they will continue their commitment to defending the purchasing power of Italians. In recent months, thanks to an offer characterized by quality and convenience, private label (MDD) products have confirmed themselves, on the one hand, as a valid tool to support the purchasing power of families, and on the other, a partner for the development and economic stability of Made in Italy production chains. In this still complex economic scenario, it remains essential to support our businesses, hoping in particular for the start of a process of reducing interest rates and an extension of the ‘Industry 5.0’ plan to the Modern Distribution sector, to facilitate investments of companies both in the digital field and in terms of energy efficiency”, he commented Carlo Alberto Buttarelli, President of Federdistribuzione.