A record drop in import prices is fueling hopes that Germany's high inflation will subside.

Imports fell 4.5 percent in November compared to October.

"There has never been a price drop of this magnitude compared to the previous month," said the Federal Statistical Office on Wednesday.

Economists surveyed by the Reuters news agency had only expected a drop of 1.6 percent.

Cheaper energy in particular was responsible for the third decline in a row: its imports fell by 16.1 percent.

Since the German economy obtains many preliminary products and raw materials from abroad, falling import prices also reach consumers with a delay.

Measured against the same month last year, import prices rose by only 14.5 percent.

In August there was a 32.7 percent increase since 1974, since then inflation has been falling.

Energy imports increased in price by 37.9 percent within a year.

"The increase compared to the previous year is still mainly due to the price increases for imported natural gas," the statisticians explained.

These prices were 42.7 percent higher than in November 2021. Imported petroleum cost 28.8 percent more than a year earlier, petroleum products even 41.0 percent more, while electricity was 2.8 percent cheaper.

The unexpectedly strong decline at the end of 2022 gives hope that the sharp rise in prices will subside: Lower energy prices and the state advance payment for natural gas only allowed consumer prices to climb by 8.6 percent in December compared to the same month last year.

Inflation fell to 10.0 percent in November after hitting a 10.4 percent high in October, the highest level since 1951.

"This strengthens the suspicion that the high point of inflation is behind us," said LBBW economist Jens-Oliver Niklasch.

Nevertheless, inflation is unacceptably high.

"The fight against the inflation that sparked last year remains a marathon, not a sprint," said Niklasch.