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ECONOMY

Spain’s inflation soars to 29-year high

Spanish inflation accelerated in November to its highest level in nearly three decades on the back of rising food and gas prices, official data showed Monday.

black friday spain
Black Friday sales can't disguise the fact for shoppers that life in Spain is getting increasingly expensive. Photo: GABRIEL BOUYS / AFP

Consumer prices jumped by 5.6 percent, up from a 5.4 percent increase in October, according to preliminary figures from national statistics institute.

That is its fastest pace since September 1992, when the rate was 5.8 percent.

The surge in inflation in the eurozone’s fourth-largest economy was due largely to a spike in food prices, followed by higher gas prices, the statistics office said.

Electricity costs, however, declined slightly after a month-long acceleration, it added.

As in other European Union nations, inflation in Spain has risen since the start of the year after consumer prices declined during most of 2020 due to the economic impact of pandemic lockdowns.

In October, eurozone inflation reached 4.1 percent, well above the European Central Bank’s target of two percent and equal to a high set in July 2008.

But the bank believes eurozone inflation will peak in November and is set to gradually slow next year as supply bottlenecks and the energy crunch ease, board member Isabel Schnabel said earlier this month.

Investors worry central banks will withdraw their stimulus measures sooner than expected to tame inflation.

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MONEY

Italy expands €200 payment scheme and introduces public transport bonus

Italy's government will extend its proposed one-time €200 benefit to more people and introduce a €60 public transport payment, Italian media reported on Thursday.

Italy expands €200 payment scheme and introduces public transport bonus

Seasonal workers, domestic and cleaning staff, the self-employed, the unemployed and those on Italy’s ‘citizens’ income’ will be added to the categories of people in Italy eligible for a one-off €200 payment, ministers reportedly announced on Thursday evening.

The one-time bonus, announced earlier this week as part of a package of financial measures designed to offset the rising cost of living, was initially set to be for pensioners and workers on an income of less than €35,000 only.

However the government has now agreed to extend the payment to the additional groups following pressure from Italy’s labour, families, and regional affairs ministers and representatives of the Five Star Movement, according to news agency Ansa.

Pensioners and employees will reportedly receive the €200 benefit between June and July via a direct payment into their pension slip or pay packet.

For other groups, a special fund will be created at the Labour Ministry and the procedures for claiming and distributing payments detailed in an incoming decree, according to the Corriere della Sera news daily.

One new measure introduced at the cabinet meeting on Thursday is the introduction of a one-time €60 public transport bonus for students and workers earning below €35,000. The bonus is reportedly designed to encourage greater use of public transport and will take the form of an e-voucher that can be used when purchasing a bus, train or metro season pass.

Other provisions reportedly proposed in the energy and investment decree (decreto energia e investimenti), which is still being adjusted and amended, include extending energy bill discounts, cutting petrol excise duty and rolling on the deadline to claim Italy’s popular ‘superbonus 110’.

The €14 billion aid package, intended to lessen the economic impact of the war in Ukraine, will “fight the higher cost of living” and is “a temporary situation”, Prime Minister Mario Draghi has said.

The Local will report further details of the payment scheme once they become available following final approval of the decree.

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