A year with severe, sometimes double-digit inflation rates is over - many experts seem to be getting a little more confident about the new year.

In any case, one institution after the other is currently correcting its forecast for average inflation in Germany or in the euro area as a whole downwards.

In part, the analysts are simply reacting to the consequences of state intervention - but also partly to the observation that the energy shortage and energy prices in winter have not been as bad as some had feared.

It is at least possible, then, that the fall in inflation was underestimated just as much as its rise was.

Christian Siedenbiedel

Editor in Business.

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Deutsche Bank, for example, has just lowered its forecast for inflation in the euro area from 7.1 to 5.8 percent – ​​that is, by at least 1.3 percentage points.

Commerzbank reduced its forecast for German inflation from 6.5 to 6 percent, but has so far maintained the 7 percent for the euro area.

"We have not changed the picture of persistently high core inflation," said Jörg Krämer, chief economist at Commerzbank.

Core inflation is inflation excluding volatile prices such as those for energy and food.

She had even gained weight lately.

DZ Bank now expects inflation in Germany to be 6.8 instead of 7.6 percent this year.

Dekabank has already lowered its forecast from more than 7 to 6.8 percent, as Deka chief economist Ulrich Kater says.

The investment bank Goldman Sachs also revised its forecast for the euro zone downwards and now expects an annual average of only 5.8 instead of 7 percent.

She justifies this with the downward surprises in the published inflation rates of the past few months, the energy aid packages from the European governments - and sharply falling energy prices in wholesale.

Inflation rate artificially depressed in December

The statistical authorities' first estimates for inflation rates in January will be published next week, on Tuesday for Germany and on Wednesday for the euro area as a whole.

It is expected that the rates will be slightly higher than in December, but that the previous highs from October will not be reached again.

The reason: In December, especially in Germany, when the state took over the gas payment on account, the inflation rate was artificially depressed.

This inflation-lowering effect is now excluded from the calculation in January.

In addition, many energy suppliers raised their prices at the turn of the year, which should drive up inflation again.

Inflation rates could then fall over the course of the year.

Certain differences in the inflation forecasts can also be explained by the fact that some institutions look at the national method of calculating the consumer price index (CPI) and others at the European method of calculating the harmonized index of consumer prices (HICP).

According to its forecast from December, the European Central Bank itself expects 6.3 percent inflation in the euro area for this year.

The federal government has just lowered its forecast for inflation in Germany from 7 to 6 percent.

The trade union-related Institute for Macroeconomics and Business Cycle Research (IMK), on the other hand, is at the lower end of the spectrum with its forecasts: it lowered its forecast for Germany from 5.7 to 5.1 percent in December and expects 5.2 percent for the euro zone.

The Ifo Institute in Munich is now also expecting lower rates.

In its autumn forecast, it had assumed 9.3 percent for Germany, but now it only expects 6.4 percent.

"Overall, the view of the current year seems more positive than the expectations from last year, which were still characterized by the risk of a gas shortage and very high inflation rates," said Michael Hüther from the Institute of German Economics (IW) in Cologne: "The high point inflation seems to have been overcome, so we can expect an inflation rate of less than six percent this year.”

Fuel prices are already rising again

However, there has been an opposite development in energy prices in the very recent past.

The opening in China had at times pushed up the price of oil.

With the slightly colder days, heating oil in Germany had become a little more expensive again.

And the prices for petrol and diesel have recently increased noticeably on a weekly basis: by 4.2 cents to 1.779 euros per liter for Super E10 and 2.9 cents to 1.858 euros per liter for diesel.

This was reported by the ADAC car club on Wednesday in its weekly evaluation of the prices at 14,000 gas stations.

Governing Council grapples with future course

Meanwhile, the Governing Council, which meets next week for its interest rate meeting, is struggling over how to proceed with the interest rate hikes in March and the following months.

After ECB President Christine Lagarde, Bundesbank President Joachim Nagel also confirmed that interest rates must continue to rise and that the swan song to high inflation should not be sung too soon.

For February and March, the central bank has announced that it will raise interest rates sharply, Nagel told the “Spiegel”.

"After that we will look at where the inflation rate is in the spring and what the forecast of our experts looks like then," he explained.

"I wouldn't be surprised if we have to continue raising interest rates after the two steps that have been announced." Ireland's central bank chief Gabriel Makhlouf made a similar statement.

After the central bank heads of Greece and Italy, ECB Executive Board member Fabio Panetta was also somewhat hesitant - the ECB should not commit itself for too long: "We will have new projections in March and then we should reassess the situation," said Panetta the "Handelsblatt".