In what may be both good and bad news for the ECB, German inflation jumped more than expected in December, hitting the highest level in more than three years, according to preliminary data. German consumer prices, harmonized with other European countries (HICP), rose by 1.7% on the year, more than double the November increase of 0.7%, the German Federal Statistics Office said.
This was the highest annual inflation rate since July 2013 and stronger than the consensus forecast of 1.5%.
On a non-harmonized basis, German annual inflation picked up to 1.7 percent after 0.8 percent in November; prices rose 0.7% on the month, also higher than the 0.6% expected by consensus.
Rising energy prices and higher food costs were the strongest drivers behind the overall increase, a breakdown of the non-harmonized data showed. The surge in energy prices will only lead to more inflationary pressure now that the lowest prices of 2016 have been “anniversaried,”
A strong recovery in German inflation would give conservatives like Bundesbank’s President and ECB rate-setter Jens Weidmann more scope to argue for winding down the ECB’s bond-buying program more quickly, Reuters notes. For Mario Draghi it will be good news in the he can claim victory over deflation; on the other hand it will mean an even faster arrival of more tapering and potentially rate hikes, a process which would likely lead to the next deflationary slide following a spike in bond yields which price out ECB bond market intervention.
Source: zero hedge