Euro-Zone December producer prices dropped 1.3% m/m, bringing the annual rate down to 1.8% y/y from 3.3% y/y in November. Excluding energy prices fell 0.6% m/m, which confirms that much of the drop in December was due to lower oil prices, with energy prices down 3.7% m/m. Annual energy price inflation decelerated to 2.1% y/y from 6.2% y/y in November and 15.9% y/y in October, and the positive base effects will continue to put downward pressure on price trends in coming months. Prices for non-durable goods fell 0.2% m/m, the fourth consecutive monthly decline. Data are likely to fuel public pressure for further rate cuts from the ECB, but the central bank has stressed that base effects will reverse again in the second half of the year and that monetary policy has to see through short term developments. Rates are likely to remain on hold this week before falling again in March, but the room for further rate cuts seems limited, as ECB's Draghi just stressed again.
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