Which products are driving up inflation in Germany?

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Which products are driving up inflation in Germany?
Foodstuffs, including sunflower oil and cereal products, lie on the conveyor belt at the checkout in a supermarket in Leipzig. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Hendrik Schmidt

In February, the inflation rate in Germany remained at 8.7 percent, but the price increases for many goods were much higher.


Consumers in Germany continue to struggle with stubbornly high inflation, as January’s high rate of 8.7 percent persisted throughout February.

According to the Federal Statistical Office, groceries are particularly expensive, and prices were 2.4 percent higher in February than in January. Compared with a year ago, prices for food in Germany were 21.8 percent more expensive.

READ ALSO: Why one food product is getting much cheaper in Germany


Food costs have now replaced energy costs as the main driver of inflation in Germany. Even though energy products were 19.1 percent more expensive last month than in February 2022, there is a general downward trend in energy prices. This is partly because the federal government is putting a lot of money into making natural gas, electricity and district heating more affordable, for example, via price brakes that took effect retroactively as of January 1st.

The persistently high inflation rate means that many people are changing their buying habits. As Christian Wulff from the management consultancy PwC explained: "With an inflation rate of 8.7 percent at present and foodstuffs that have become 20 percent more expensive in one year in some cases, many people are having to adjust their private consumption." 

Which foodstuffs have gone up the most in price?

According to the Federal Office, the cost of dairy products and eggs rose by 35.3 percent and bread and cereal products by 24.3 percent since February 2022. The cost of sugar rose enormously and was 70 percent more expensive than in the same month last year.

Vegetables also became particularly expensive and rose in cost by 12.5 percent and beer prices rose by 9.6 percent.

Other household goods also became significantly more costly. The price of personal care products - such as cosmetics - rose by 15.1 percent and furniture and lighting products by 10.3 percent. Used cars also saw a 10.1 percent price increase.

Prices for services - such as construction and hospitality - as a whole were 4.7 percent higher in February than in the same month a year earlier.

According to Ifo researcher Joachim Ragnitz, some companies, particularly in the retail, hospitality, transport and construction sectors, have recently raised prices more than necessary: "These companies have taken advantage of the situation to increase their profits sharply," he said.

READ ALSO: 'Real' wages fell at record speed in Germany last year


Why are prices still so high?

"The persistently high inflationary pressure on food and services is likely to be due to a considerable extent to indirect inflationary effects from expensive energy, for example when prices in the catering industry are increased because costs for heating or cooking energy have risen, or when bakeries raise their prices because natural gas for baking has become more expensive," explained Sebastian Dullien of the Hans Böckler Foundation's Macroeconomic Policy Institute.

Unfortunately, economists are not expecting the high prices to ease dramatically in the current year, though Sebastian Dullien expects price increases to at least ease off slightly.

"As energy inflation subsides, the pressure from these indirect effects should also ease with some delay in the coming months."


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