After reaching the highest level in 40 years in May, the inflation rate in Belgium continued to rise in June and is nearing 10%, driven largely by high energy prices.
Inflation rose from 8.31% in April to 8.97% in May and reached 9.65% in June, according to Belgium's statistics office Statbel's latest update.
"The high inflation this month, as in recent months, is largely due to high energy prices. Energy inflation currently stands at 55.99% and contributes 4.81 percentage points to total inflation," the report read.
Aside from the energy inflation skyrocketing, food inflation has also risen sharply (8.44% this month, up from 6.32% last month and from 0.47% in November).
This is largely a result of the ongoing food crisis driven by increased transport, energy and raw material costs, which has been further exacerbated by the war in Ukraine, putting pressure on the production and export of wheat, corn and sunflower oil, among others.
Core inflation in the country – which excludes the price trend of energy products and unprocessed food – was 5.07% in June, up from 4.43% in May and 4.08% in April this year.
Where did prices increase most?
When it comes to food products, the price increase for oils (20.0%, up from 3.6% in November), fish and dairy products (11.3%, up from -0.4% and 0.6% respectively in November), bread and cereals (10.6% compared to 1.7% in November) and meat (8.3%, up from 0.8%) played a large role in the high inflation rate.
This won't necessarily be visible for all items. In some cases, food retailers find different ways to pass on their increased costs to the customer, for example by keeping prices the same but reducing the content or size of the product, a phenomenon called “shrinkflation."
- Belgian companies brace for ‘economic time bomb’ over energy prices
- Those with lower incomes suffer most from inflation
The increasing cost of fuel, telecommunications tariffs, heating oil, vehicles, private renting and non-alcoholic beverages had the biggest effect on the inflation rate.
Meanwhile, the slightly lower cost of natural gas (which is still 109.1% more expensive than in June last year), alcoholic beverages, electricity and clothing dropped slightly, which had a decreasing effect on the index.