Inflation fell very slightly in July, to 9.62% compared to 9.65% in June (a record percentage in 40 years), but remained at levels which had not been seen in Belgium since the early 1980s, according to figures published Thursday by Statbel (FPS Economy).
Inflation based on the health index increased from 8.72% in June to 9.07% in July. The smoothed health index rose to 118.39 points in July, which means that the central index for the civil service and social benefits, set at 118.36 points, has again been exceeded.
Consequently, social benefits and pensions will be indexed by 2% in August. Public sector wages will be indexed by 2% in September. This is the fifth overrun of the pivotal index in 11 months, the last dating back to April.
As in previous months, the high inflation rate is again largely due to high energy prices, which are about half as expensive as a year ago. Energy inflation has now reached 49.11% and contributes 4.34 percentage points to total inflation.
In addition, the price of food products, including alcoholic beverages, has risen sharply in recent months, rising by 9.24% in July, against 8.44% a month earlier. In November, it was still only 0.47%.
Oils, cereals, meat
Inflation for oils, fish, dairy products, bread and cereals as well as meat has risen sharply in recent months. That of oils reached 21.3% this month (compared to 3.6% in November). For fish, it is currently 11.4% (compared to -0.4% a few months ago). Dairy inflation is 13.6%, down from 0.6% in November, while bread and cereal prices rose 11.4% in July, from 1.7% eight months ago . Finally, the evolution in this area for meat was 9.8% this month, against 0.8% in November, illustrates Statbel, the Belgian statistical office.
Core inflation, which does not take into account the evolution of the prices of energy products and unprocessed food products, stood at 5.49% in July, against 5.07% in June. This is a consequence of the rise in inflation for processed food products and services, further explains Statbel.
The main price increases recorded in July concerned air tickets, hotel rooms, fire insurance, meat, electricity, dairy products, heating oil, the purchase of vehicles and tax traffic. Conversely, fuels had a downward effect on the index, as did city trips, alcoholic beverages and private rents.