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Financial Times begins to notice that government inflation data misleads

Section: Daily Dispatches

Negative Eurozone Inflation Rate Obscures Staple Goods' Rising Cost

By Valentina Romei
Financial Times, London
Monday, November 30, 2020

The cost of many goods and services which have become popular with eurozone consumers during the coronavirus pandemic is rising far faster than the bloc's overall depressed level of inflation, according to an analysis of official data by the Financial Times.

The single currency area entered deflation territory in August according to its headline measure of price change, and European Central Bank president Christine Lagarde has warned that she does not expect to see it return to expansion in the early months of next year.

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Economists polled by Reuters expect the headline inflation rate for November to come in at minus 0.2 percent when it is published on Tuesday.

But this downward trend in prices is partly driven by a drop in the cost of goods and services, of which consumers are either buying less or have stopped purchasing altogether, because of changes in lifestyle due to the pandemic, FT analysis suggests.

For example, the price of car fuel fell 12 percent year on year in October, air tickets were down 15 percent, and train fares dropped 4.5 percent. Hotel rooms and international package holidays also became cheaper than last year. But people stuck at home because of restrictions and social distancing measures cannot take advantage of these savings. ...

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