The inflation rate eased slightly to 6.1 percent in May, mainly thanks to lower energy costs. However, high food prices continue to bother many Germans, and consumer advocates warn of the consequences.
According to calculations by the Federal Statistical Office, consumer prices in Germany rose by 6.1 percent in May compared to the same month last year. The statisticians thus confirmed an earlier estimate. The calculated rate of inflation means a weakening compared to the April value of 7.2 percent and is the lowest rate of price increases since March 2022.
“The inflation rate has thus continued to weaken, but remains at a high level,” said Ruth Brand, President of the Federal Statistical Office. From April to May, prices fell by a minimal 0.1 percent.
Energy prices rise much more slowly
Falling inflation in energy prices was responsible for the decline in the overall inflation rate. They grew below average by 2.6 percent. According to the Federal Office, a “base effect” is also responsible for this: In the comparable period of last year, drastic price increases in the energy sector had to be coped with due to the Russian attack on Ukraine. The price brakes for electricity, natural gas and district heating also dampened the price increase in May of this year.
Natural gas still cost 25.6 percent more in May than a year earlier, and firewood, wood pellets and other solid fuels also rose particularly sharply by 23.8 percent. The prices for electricity (+12.7 percent) and district heating (+11.4 percent) also increased above average. On the other hand, mineral oil products were cheaper last month than a year earlier: light heating oil was 30.5 percent cheaper than in May 2022, fuels such as petrol cost 14.2 percent less.
Further high prices at the supermarket checkout
Food prices rose above average again in May: Here the rate was 14.9 percent, only a slight weakening compared to April with 17.2 percent. Dairy products (+28.2 percent), bread and cereal products (+19.3 percent) and fish, fish products and seafood (+19.0 percent) were more expensive.
Prices for sugar, jam, honey and other confectionery increased by an average of 17.9 percent. Vegetables became more expensive by 17.3 percent. On the other hand, edible fats and edible oils were 7.1 percent cheaper, in particular due to the fall in the price of butter (-23.3 percent).
Life is also becoming more expensive apart from energy and food
Even excluding the energy and food sectors, the rate of inflation was 5.4 percent in May, according to the Federal Statistical Office. According to the statisticians, this shows that price increases are also continuing in other product areas.
Services have also become more expensive in the past month: by an average of 4.5 percent. According to the statisticians, the introduction of the 49-euro Germany ticket apparently had a dampening effect here. The combined tickets for trains, buses and the like were 22.9 percent cheaper than in May 2022.
More consumers and consumers need to limit themselves
For many citizens, the high prices remain a heavy burden. The consumer advice centers warn of ongoing difficulties for many of those affected, especially those in lower income brackets. “The consumer crisis is far from over,” said the head of the Federal Association (vzbv), Ramona Pop, of the dpa news agency. “Financial worries are forcing people to save in all areas of everyday life: from energy consumption to travel.”
According to a survey commissioned by the association, 44 percent of Germans say they also limit themselves when buying food. Last year it was 35 percent in the survey. According to their own statements, 76 percent are now saving on energy consumption compared to 78 percent a year ago. Visits to bars and restaurants were mentioned by 61 percent after 53 percent previously. 56 percent save on vacation and travel after 50 percent previously. Pop demanded that the federal government urgently have to make adjustments and ensure more financial security.