Inflation in Germany appears to have peaked.
As the quarterly FAZ price report shows, the monthly inflation rate fell from 10.4 percent in October to 10 percent in November and 8.6 percent in December.
The Federal Statistical Office confirmed a corresponding estimate on Tuesday.
Most economists do expect the inflation rate to rise slightly again this January compared to December.
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"But the peak should have been passed," says Jörg Krämer, the chief economist at Commerzbank.
Why is that?
Apparently it's a mélange for various reasons.
The fact that the rate fell so sharply in December in particular is probably primarily due to political interventions, plus the fall in oil prices.
It is not only the latter that is linked to concerns about a global recession.
However, the interest rate hikes by the European Central Bank (ECB) could also have produced the first slight effects on the exchange rate of the euro.
The most important factor is the natural gas
If you take a closer look at why the inflation rate fell in December, the price of natural gas stands out as the most important factor.
Although it has fallen again at the wholesale level since the summer, most consumers are not yet noticing much of it.
Instead, its smaller contribution to inflation is related to the fact that the federal government took over the household gas payments in December.
The statisticians have decided to clearly take this special effect into account as a falling gas price in inflation.
Accordingly, gas prices fell by 39 percent in December compared to the previous month.
The economist Cyrus de la Rubia calculated that this effect reduced the inflation rate by around one percentage point.
So that was the policy that pushed that part of the inflation rate down significantly.
The oil price falls due to recession worries
But there are other prices that fell in December compared to November: Among other things, the consequences of the fall in oil prices were felt.
Compared to the previous month, the price of heating oil fell by 12.1 percent, that of premium petrol by 9 percent and that of diesel by 9.6 percent.
A key reason why the price of oil fell was fears of a recession on the financial markets.
Here, too, the downturn helped to dampen inflation.
However, the price of oil always fluctuates, which is difficult to predict – and somewhat random.
The interest rate hikes strengthen the euro somewhat
The fact that the euro strengthened against the dollar also played a role for consumers in Germany.
That pushed down the prices for oil and fuel in euros.
The first consequences of the interest rate hikes by the European Central Bank could already be felt here.
The first effect of such rate hikes is often through the exchange rate.
You can already feel that, according to ECB Executive Board member Isabel Schnabel.
In the case of food, on the other hand, little improvement can be observed.
On average, prices rose by 20.7 percent in December compared to the same month last year, after 21.1 percent in November.
Some things in the supermarket show extreme price increases: On average for the year, sunflower and rapeseed oil rose by 64 percent, butter by 39 percent, dairy products and eggs by 10 percent, meat by 15 percent and bread and cereal products by 14 percent.
Sebastian Dullien, an economist from the Institute for Macroeconomics and Economic Research, which is close to the union, believes that the fall in food prices on the world market and in wholesale should also make itself felt in consumer prices in the coming months.
Otherwise, there were individual goods and services that became cheaper in December, such as hotel accommodation, clothing, coffee.
Electricity, for example, has become more expensive again.
And the so-called core inflation, which is inflation without strongly fluctuating prices such as those for food and energy, continued to rise in Germany and in the euro area as a whole, from 5 to 5.2 percent.