Italy ends 2022 with record-high inflation rate

ROME, Jan. 17– Prices in Italy rose to record levels in 2022, the government’s statistics entity ISTAT said on Tuesday. For the year as a whole, prices were an average of 8.1 percent higher than a year earlier, the highest level in Italy since the introduction of the euro currency in 1999. Although rising energy costs have had an impact across the European Union and…

ROME, Jan. 17 (Xinhua) — Prices in Italy rose to record levels in 2022, the government’s statistics entity ISTAT said on Tuesday.

For the year as a whole, prices were an average of 8.1 percent higher than a year earlier, the highest level in Italy since the introduction of the euro currency in 1999. In 2021, the year-on-year increase was just 1.9 percent.

The increase in prices was even more dramatic at the end of the year: in December, prices were 11.6 percent higher than in December 2021, and in the two previous months the year-on-year increase was 11.8 percent.

ISTAT said the main factor driving up prices was higher energy costs stemming from the conflict between Russia and Ukraine.

Although rising energy costs have had an impact across the European Union and beyond, the problem is especially acute in Italy. Before the start of the Ukraine crisis, the country was highly dependent on imports of Russian natural gas.

The Italian economy is also the European Union’s second-largest exporter, but this has been greatly impacted by higher production and transport costs.

The inflation rate for the euro currency zone in December was 9.2 percent, according to preliminary figures from Eurostat, down from 10.1 percent in November.

Leading Italian business association Confesercenti said rising prices are hitting the poorest people in Italy hardest, with a larger percentage of their income used up by the cost of energy and other inflation-sensitive products. The estimated inflation rate for poor families in the country is 16 percent.

“The picture for 2023 remains uncertain, with a change in the inflation rate that will remain above 5 percent,” Confesercenti said on Tuesday, estimating that even if energy prices stabilize they will be as much as 150 percent higher this year than they were in 2009.

Confesercenti called for sustained government support for poor families, and companies operating in energy-intense economic sectors.

According to ISTAT’s data, energy prices were 63.3 percent higher at the end of 2022 than they were a year earlier, by far the largest increase in the basket of goods monitored to calculate the inflation rate. Transport prices were also up by 6.0 percent, unprocessed foods by 9.5 percent, and processed foods by 14.9 percent.

On average, energy prices were 50.9 percent higher in 2022 as a whole than they were in 2021.

The last time prices rose so much in one year in Italy was in 1985, when the country still used the lira currency and the average annual inflation rate was 9.2 percent. Enditem

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