AIt can be clearly observed at the gas stations: fuel prices are falling. Just over a week ago, the national average price of diesel fell below 2 euros per liter. In addition, the price of the Super E10 has now fallen below 1.80 euros. It was of this magnitude the previous time during the period of the tank discount with the reduced mineral oil tax – and before that only before the Ukraine war.
Crude oil has also become cheaper. Since Friday, the price has been below $90 per barrel (159 liter barrel) for North Sea Brent. And heating oil costs 127 euros per 100 liters, around 42 euros less than at times in October. Well-filled gas storage facilities had also caused wholesale gas prices to drop sharply again.
A remarkable development: It is also the energy prices that have caused producer prices in Germany to fall for the first time since May 2020, i.e. since the early days of the corona crisis. These are the prices that companies have to deal with – and which they usually pass on to consumers, at least in part, with a certain time lag.
These producer prices fell by 4.2 percent in October compared to September. According to the Federal Statistical Office, this was the strongest monthly price decline since the survey began in 1949. Over the year, this still meant a price increase of 34.5 percent. Although this remains an exceptionally high value, it was significantly lower than in August and September, each with 45.8 percent.
Economists see “ray of hope”
The main reason was a drop in energy prices, which fell by an average of 10.4 percent compared to the previous month. In particular, prices for natural gas and electricity for companies were lower in October than in September. The price of electricity fell by 16.9 percent and that of natural gas by 9 percent. However, both discounts applied primarily to buyers of larger quantities.
Economists spoke at least of a “ray of hope”. The exciting question now is: are these already signs that inflation is about to fall, possibly pushed down by the downturn? In any case, in October the inflation rate continued to rise both for Germany and for the euro area. In Germany it had reached 10.4 percent, in the euro area 10.6 percent. In the first case, that was the highest level since the 1950s – in the second, a record since the establishment of the European Monetary Union.
In the United States, declining inflation rates have even been observed in recent months – but not in this country. On the contrary: in the figures for October inflation in the euro area, consumer price increases continued to increase in almost all subcategories; including food, which rose by 13.1 percent over the year, after 11.8 percent in September. Only the price increase for services had stagnated compared to the previous month with an increase of 4.3 percent.