Eurozone Inflation Preview: What to Expect from June’s Data

Economists expect a fall to 2.4% after the increase in May, with the core inflation figure in focus

Sara Silano 27 June, 2024 | 10:01AM
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Euro money

Markets are looking to flash eurozone inflation figures for June that are due on Tuesday, July 2. Inflation is forecast to have fallen back to 2.4% on the year before, according to FactSet consensus estimates. Prices increased by 2.6% in May from a year ago, above economist expectations.

Core inflation, which shows prices without energy and food costs, increased by 2.9% in May on a year on year basis.

“Although we still expect some volatility in inflation readings, June’s downward move would be most welcome, and reaffirms the European Central Bank’s action in cutting rates on June 6,” said Michael Field, European market strategist at Morningstar.

“Possibly even more important than the move in headline inflation would be the drop in core inflation, because it is the measure that central bankers pay close attention to, given that it strips out the volatile components such as food and fuel, and gives a more accurate picture of inflation.”

Service Inflation is the Last Mile

In May, the greatest contributors to the annual euro area inflation rate (HICP) were services (+1.83 percentage points, pp), followed by food, alcohol & tobacco (+0.51 pp), non-energy industrial goods (+0.18 pp) and energy (+0.04 pp), according to official data source Eurostat.

Service inflation rose from 3.7% in April to 4.1% in May, a concern for policymakers.

“Inflation is unlikely to recede until year end, due to the intrinsic rigidity of services prices,” said Ombretta Signori, head of macroeconomic research and strategy at Ofi Invest Asset Management in a note on June 24.

“Meanwhile, wage momentum, a variable highlighted by the ECB, stayed high in the first quarter (4.7% year-on-year, vs. 4.5% in the fourth quarter 2023). Based on the ECB’s wage projection index, replies from companies to the ECB’s phone survey, and wage data from new job offers, we can expect wage growth to top off at about 4% this year and not to normalise until 2025.”

When Will the ECB Cut Rates Again?

The ECB confirmed the data-dependent approach to the path of rates in its latest economic bulletin published on June 20, so June's inflation data will be closely followed.

“Despite the progress over recent quarters, domestic price pressures remain strong as wage growth is elevated, and inflation is likely to stay above target well into next year”, the ECB said.

Morningstar's Field added: “With the ECB enacting its first rate cut in June, all eyes are on inflation numbers to ascertain how many more rate cuts will follow this year. Current economists’ forecasts are pointing to two, with next Tuesday’s inflation reading unlikely to change that prediction."

The latest Eurosystem staff projections for both headline and core inflation have been revised up for 2024 and 2025 compared with the March projections. Headline inflation is expected to average 2.5% in 2024, 2.2% in 2025 and 1.9% in 2026. Core prices are estimated an average of 2.8% in 2024, 2.2% in 2025 and 2.0% in 2026.

ECB cut rates on June 6, but has not pre-committed to a particular rate path.

“[The Governing Council’s] interest rate decisions will be based on its assessment of the inflation outlook in light of the incoming economic and financial data, the dynamics of underlying inflation and the strength of monetary policy transmission”, ECB said in its June Bulletin.

What Could Push Up Inflation?

Upside risks to inflation include a more-than-expected increase in wages and profits, but also geopolitical tensions which could push energy prices and freight cost higher, and extreme weather events that could increase food prices.

Goldman Sachs expects euro area headline and core inflation to be 2.7% year on year and 2.6% year on year respectively in December 2024.

“We look for euro area core inflation to cool, as the pass-through effects of global supply chains and high energy prices fade, albeit with some near-term stickiness,” the bank's analysts said in a note on June 18.


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Sara Silano

Sara Silano  is Editorial Manager for Morningstar Italy

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