Inflation in Spain is out of control after months of increases and is now under pressure from the energy crisis derived from Russia's invasion of Ukraine. The Consumer Price Index (CPI) increased by 0.8% compared to the previous month, to 7.6%, to mark its highest rate since December 1986. The rate confirmed today, Friday, was revised upwards in two tenths with respect to the figure advanced 15 days ago by the National Institute of Statistics.
This scenario translates into a double bill for the consumer, who has no choice but to assume the high cost of energy and, at the same time, the increase in prices that is transferred to other goods and services, such as food.
Electricity (80.5%), liquefied hydrocarbons such as butane or propane (33.4%), diesel (28.4%) and gasoline (25.1%), but also some foods that make up the shopping basket, such as edible oils (32.3%). The rest of the products are also infected by the general trend: the annual rate of core inflation -without energy or fresh food- increased six tenths, to 3%.
Although the conflict in Ukraine and the energy crisis in Europe will intensify inflationary tensions even more, it is pouring rain in our country. With the confirmed data for this month, the interannual CPI adds its fifteenth consecutive positive rate after months of increases in the price of gas and electricity. In addition, the indicator chains three months with percentages above 6%, that is, at levels not seen in our country for three decades.
Among the groups with the greatest positive influence on the increase in the annual rate, Statistics highlights that of housing. In this category, the annual variation was 25.4%, more than seven points above that registered in January. This is due to the behavior of electricity prices, which shot up 80.5% compared to the same month in 2021. Specifically, the average price of electricity in the wholesale market was 220.2 euros per MW/ h, only slightly more than in January, when a few euros for 201.7 MW/h were registered, although in the last week of the month the daily prices went wild.
Experts warn that the conflict in Ukraine will cause a significant increase in the energy bill. Based on different scenarios, the increase in the bill compared to 2021 would be 41% in the most positive scenario and 109% in the most negative, according to OCU calculations.
For its part, transport placed its rate at 12.8%, one and a half points higher than that of last month, as a result of the increase in the prices of fuels and lubricants for personal vehicles, higher this month than in February 2021. Fuels have also skyrocketed due to the increase in the cost of a barrel of oil: diesel rose 28.4% and gasoline, 25.1%. Yesterday, the price of diesel reached an average price of 1,787 euros/litre, which represents a rise of 32.7% since January 3. And it almost equals that of gasoline 95, which reaches 1,823 euros/liter and accumulates a rise of 23.2%. For a refueling of 50 liters, it represents an extra cost for the consumer of 22.01 and 17.19 euros in diesel and gasoline, respectively.
Food and non-alcoholic beverages also rose, registering an upward variation of eight tenths, up to 5.6%. In this evolution, the increases in the prices of legumes and vegetables and milk, cheese and eggs stand out, which fell in 2021, and of bread and cereals, higher this month than last year. By products, within the shopping basket, products such as edible oils (32.3%), olive oil (30.6%) or pasta (19.9%) became more expensive.