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Analysis
Euro area inflation is at a 3½-year low; a bout of falling prices in 2014 is possible

Euro area inflation is at a 3½-year low; a bout of falling prices in 2014 is possible

Chart of the Week

by Gabriel Stein in London

Tue 22 Oct 2013

What the chart shows: The chart shows the 12-month per cent euro area inflation, headline and core.

22 Oct


Why the chart is important: Deflation, like rapid inflation, is bad for countries. This is even more the case when there is a debt overhang - as there currently is in many euro area countries.

A number of factors highlight the risk of falling prices in the euro area in 2014. Broad money growth is once again slowing. There are large and persistent negative output gaps in all euro area countries, showing substantial slack in the economy. The euro is now more likely to rise than to fall. And, finally, the scope for further increases in taxes and administered prices is limited.

In theory, the ECB could easily avert deflation by boosting broad money growth. But technical problems and a disinflationary bias mean that this is unlikely to happen.

Chart and comments provided by Stein Brothers (UK) www.steinbrothers.co.uk

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