Consumers in the euro area have sharply raised their expectations about inflation in the coming months, the European Central Bank revealed. Survey data showing this comes after the monetary authority slowed the pace of its rate hikes last week while indicating that it’s still early for a pause.
ECB Registers Heightened Consumer Expectations About Inflation
Europeans believe inflation will be around 5% over the next 12 months with their median expectations rising “significantly” in March from 4.6% in February, the European Central Bank (ECB) announced on Thursday, quoting its latest Consumer Expectations Survey (CES).
The poll has been conducted before the ECB’s decision to raise interest rates by 25 basis points last week. Despite slowing the pace of rate hikes, the regulator argued that while inflation has declined, underlying price pressures remain strong, signaling further raises are likely.
“Uncertainty about inflation expectations 12 months ahead reached its highest level since the start of the survey in April 2020,” the central bank noted in a press release. Expectations for inflation in the next three years also increased, to 2.9% from 2.4%.
At the same time, consumers expected their nominal income to increase by 1.3% over the next 12 months, compared to 1.2% in the previous survey. Expectations for nominal spending growth over the next year increased to 4.1%, from 3.9% in February.
European expectations for economic growth over the next 12 months became slightly more negative, the ECB remarked, declining to -1.0%, from -0.9%. The expected unemployment rate for the same time period rose to 11.7% from February’s 11.5%.
The CES is a monthly online survey of 14,000 consumers, aged 18 or over, from six euro area countries: Belgium, Germany, Spain, France, Italy, and the Netherlands. The ECB uses its results for policy analysis. The latest data supports the views of some members of its Governing Council who have maintained that further rate hikes are warranted by persisting inflation in the eurozone.
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