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    No increase in September consumer price index

    The consumer price index was 107.58 points in September 2018 and remained unchanged compared to last month. Inflation increased from 2.24% to 2.35%. The health index went down by 0.03 point to 107.52 points. Inflation based on the health index increased from 1.77% to 1.91%. 

    The most significant price increases in September were linked to fresh fruit, vegetables, domestic heating oil, motor fuels and travel abroad. These increases were mainly offset by price decreases for airplane tickets, hotel rooms, bread and cereals, sugar, chocolate and jam, as well as holiday villages.

    These latest consumer price index figures were released by Statbel. Compared to last September, LPG, diesel and other fuels in particular became (considerably) more expensive.

    Fruit is the expensive item this month with an average price increase of 8 percent. Vegetables became, on average, 3.4 percent more expensive than last month, and heating oil cost on average 2.7 percent more. The prices of motor fuels rose by an average of 0.9 percent and the prices for foreign trips were 2 percent more expensive this month.

    Among the products that fell in price are plane tickets, which became on average 16 percent cheaper this month. The prices for hotel rooms fell by 7.6 percent; bread and cereals became 1.1 percent cheaper; sugar, chocolate and jam 2.6 percent and the cost of holiday villages fell by 3.8 percent.

    The health index – the basis of the indexation of wages and benefits – decreased by 0.03 points to 107.52 points. The central index for public service and social benefits of 107.20 points was not exceeded. 

    On an annual basis – compared to September last year – there have been substantial price increases for LPG (+28.2%), diesel (+20.2%), butane and propane (+20.1%), heating oil (+14.6%) and fresh fruit (+13.8%). Sharp price decreases were were noted for frozen vegetables, mobile phones and smartwatches, soft drinks and computers. The impact on prices here is much less significant.

    The product group with the largest upward effect on inflation in September was transport with an (+0.37 percentage points). The largest downward effects were measured for clothing and footwear and interior decoration and household appliances (-0.12 percentage points).

    Arthur Rubinstein
    The Brussels Times