Consumer prices in Spain increased in February, surpassing all forecasts, to hit a 30-year high of 7.4% year-on-year. This compared to 6.1% in January, the flash data from the National Statistics Institute (INE) revealed on Monday.
Continuous rises in the prices of food and non-alcoholic beverages as well as fuel costs have led inflation to its highest level since July 1989, the National Statistics Institute went on to say.
The price rise “is mainly due to energy prices and the fact that we compare to a flat month last year,” stated Economy Minister Nadia Calvino during an interview with radio station Cadena SER on Monday.
According to a number of analysts polled by Reuters news agency, 12-month consumer prices were forecast to increase to 6.8% in February.
Surging inflation in Spain as well as other countries in the eurozone is piling the pressure on the European Central Bank to revise its monetary policy and begin to gradually phase out its bond purchase program and increase interest rates.
Furthermore, the separate EU-harmonised consumer price index for Spain increased 7.5% in the 12 months to February, faster than the 6.8% predicted by analysts surveyed by Reuters and faster than January’s figure of 6.2%.
In addition, core inflation, which doesn’t take into account volatile food and energy prices, stood at 3.0% year-on-year, a rise from 2.4% last month and hitting its highest rate since the financial crisis in 2008.
The Economy Minister cautioned that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine last week could keep inflation high in the region moving forward, as it sparked oil and gas price increases.
“The price evolution is the main aspect that this war can have from an economic point of view”, Calvino added. She called for a joint European response to reduce the effect on economic growth.
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