Consumer price inflation has been rising in many countries for the first time in several years. Indeed, the consumer price index for energy tracked alongside prices for non-energy and non-food for most of the last two decades, but jumped to a far steeper trend from 2003, the latest OECD in Figures 2008 reports.
The energy price index for fuel, electricity and petrol jumped by 68% from mid-2003 to mid-2008, compared with 32% in the five years to end-1992 and 24% in 1998-2002. (Commodity prices have eased since August 2008, however.)
Overall consumer price inflation has been modest in the OECD area as a whole. Average monthly price rises eased down from their high of about 0.5% per month in 1987-92 to 0.3% in 1998- 2003 and to 0.2% in the period to 2006. Indeed, as OECD in Figures points out, since 2000 there have been 20 months when prices did not rise at all! But overall price rises accelerated to 0.6% in spring 2008.
Average OECD inflation stood at 4.4% in mid-2008, with Japan at the low end, recording a 2% annual rise in its consumer price index, but Iceland’s reaching over 12% in the same month.
OECD in Figures 2008, 20th anniversary edition, is free to OECD Observer subscribers. It can be ordered separately at www.oecd.org/bookshop, ISBN 978-92-64-05563-6
©OECD Observer No 269 October 2008
Where are we in the current economic crisis?