German inflation remains high at start of year

People walk through Mall of Berlin shopping centre during its opening night in Berlin
People walk through the Mall of Berlin shopping centre during its opening night in Berlin, Germany, September 24, 2014. REUTERS/Thomas Peter
  • Germany's Jan EU-harmonized annual inflation at 9.2%
  • Energy prices up 23.1% on the year
  • Pressure remains on ECB to keep raising rates

BERLIN, Feb 22 (Reuters) - Germany's inflation rate showed no signs of easing at the start of the year, as energy and food price pressures remained high due to the war in Ukraine.

German consumer prices, harmonised to compare with other European Union countries, rose by 9.2% on the year in January, data from the federal statistics office showed on Wednesday.

Compared with December, prices increased by 0.5%, it added, confirming preliminary data on both a monthly and annual basis.

According to non-harmonised standards, German consumer prices rose 8.7% on the year in January and 1.0% on the month. This follows revised inflation rates of 8.1% in December and 8.8% in November.

"Following a slowdown at the end of last year, the inflation rate thus remains at a high level," said Ruth Brand, president of the German statistics office.

Commerzbank's chief economist Joerg Kraemer said that following the methodological revision of the inflation basket, "there has been no clear downward trend in inflation since the autumn."

For the economist, it is far too early to sound the all-clear on the inflation front. "The European Central Bank should continue to raise its key interest rates decisively," he said.

Households paid higher prices in particular for energy and food in January, Brand said.

Energy product prices were 23.1% higher year-on-year despite government relief measures. Excluding energy prices, the inflation rate stood at 7.2% in January.

Food prices increased 20.2% on year. "The rate of food price increase thus was more than twice the overall inflation rate again," the statistics office said.

"We are observing price rises for many goods and, to an increasing degree, also for services," Brand said. Prices of goods were up 12.7% on year in January and services prices increased 4.5% on year.

The statistics office offers a breakdown for January on its website.

Reporting by Maria Martinez and Miranda Murray; Editing by Rachel More and Christina Fincher

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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Maria Martinez is a Reuters correspondent in Berlin covering German economics and the ministry of finance. Maria previously worked at Dow Jones Newswires in Barcelona covering European economics and at Bloomberg, Debtwire and the New York Stock Exchange in New York City. She graduated with a Master of International Affairs at Columbia University as a Fulbright scholar. Contact: +34685873768