Consumer price index of March 2022
- Inflation increases from 8.04% to 8.31% in March, which is the highest level since March 1983, when it was 8.92%.
- The consumer price index this month increases by 0.62 points or 0.52%.
- Inflation based on the health index goes from 7.56% to 7.68%.
- The smoothed health index stood at 115.54 points in March.
- The high inflation this month is due, as in recent months, to the high energy prices. Energy currently has an inflation rate of 57.22% and contributes 4.82 percentage points to the total inflation.
- Core inflation, which does not take into account price evolutions of energy products and unprocessed food, stood at 3.75% in March, compared to 3.28% in February.
- In March, the most significant price increases were registered for motor fuels, natural gas, fruit, personal care products, domestic heating oil, the purchase of vehicles, maintenance and repair of vehicles and airplane tickets. Electricity and alcoholic beverages, on the other hand, have had a decreasing effect on the index.
Inflation now stands at 8.31% compared to 8.04% last month and 7.59% in January. Inflation based on the health index amounted to 7.68% this month compared to 7.56% in February and 7.12% in January. Inflation without energy went up to 3.80% in March, compared to 3.28% in February and 2.85% in January. Core inflation, which does not take into account price evolutions of energy products and unprocessed food, stood at 3.75% in March, compared to 3.28% in February and 2.98% in January.
Inflation for food products (including alcoholic beverages) stands at 4.63% this month, compared to 3.84% last month. Inflation for services has risen to 3.78% from 3.20%. Inflation for rents has increased from 2.49% to 2.64%.
The sharp increase in inflation in recent months is due to energy products. Energy inflation is now running at 57.22%, compared to 60.99% last month and 60.86% in January. Electricity is now 49.9% more expensive than a year ago. Natural gas is 148.8% more expensive on an annual basis. Prices for domestic heating oil, calculated based on a smoothed 12-month moving average, have increased by 62.7% in one year. Motor fuels are 31.3% more expensive than last year.
The increase in inflation is due to the high energy prices. Energy currently has an inflation rate of 57.22% and contributes 4.82 percentage points to the total inflation.
The price of natural gas has increased by 4.8% on average compared to the previous month. The price of electricity fell by an average of 11.7% as a result of the temporary VAT reduction for electricity.
Some products and services that rose sharply in price compared to March last year are:
|Other fuels (LPG)||63.4%|
|Domestic heating oil||62.7%|
|Liquefied petroleum gas (propane)||27.9%|
Some products and services that fell sharply in price compared to March last year are:
|Recording media (a.o. memory card)||-8.4%|
|Other information processing equipment (e.g. smart watch)||-4.8%|
|Toys and gaming||-3.7%|
|Freezers and refrigerators||-3.6%|
The main group with the largest upward effect[i] on inflation in March was ‘Housing, water, energy’ with an effect on inflation of 3.35 percentage points. The largest downward effect was measured for ‘Food and non-alcoholic beverages’ with -0.76 percentage points.
The main group with the largest contribution[ii] to inflation is ‘Housing, water and energy’ with 4.18 percentage points. The lowest contribution to inflation is made by the group education, with 0.01 percentage points.
Explanation of index levels
The consumer price index has risen by 0.62 points or 0.52% in March 2022 and is now running at 119.69 points, compared to 119.07 points in February 2022 (2013=100). The health index has gained 0.31 points to 119.05 points in March, compared to 118.74 points in February. The smoothed health index stood at 115.54 points in March. The next central index for public service and social benefits is set at 116.04 points.
The products with the largest increasing effect in March are motor fuels, natural gas, fruit, personal care products, domestic heating oil, the purchase of vehicles, maintenance and repair of vehicles and airplane tickets. Electricity and alcoholic beverages, on the other hand, had a decreasing effect on the index. The most important trends this month are:
|Motor fuels||+0.390 points||Electricity||-0.560 points|
|Natural gas||+0.130 points||Alcoholic beverages||-0.055 points|
|Personal care||+0.060 points|
|Domestic heating oil||+0.060 points|
|Purchase of vehicles||+0.055 points|
|Maintenance and repair of personal transport equipment||+0.045 points|
|Airplane tickets||+0.045 points|
Motor fuels became on average 8.9% more expensive. Prices for natural gas have gone up by 4.8% on average this month. Fruit became on average 7.6% more expensive. Prices for personal care products have increased on average by 2.0% this month. Domestic heating oil smoothed prices have gone up by 4.4% on average this month. The purchase of vehicles became on average 0.7% more expensive this month. Vehicle maintenance and repairs became on average 1.3% more expensive this month. Airplane tickets became 7.0% more expensive on average this month.
Electricity became on average 11.7% cheaper this month as a result of the temporary VAT reduction. Prices for alcoholic beverages decreased on average by 2.5% this month.
|2013 = 100||December||January||February||March|
|Consumer price index||115.74||118.32||119.07||119.69|
|Smoothed health index*||111.97||113.42||114.60||115.54|
|* defined in the law of 23 April 2015 on the promotion of employment (Belgian Official Journal of 27 April 2015)|
[i] The effect on inflation shows the changes on the inflation rate by including this product group in the CPI calculation. The effect not only takes the weight of the product group into account, but it also takes into account whether the product group inflation is higher or lower than that of the total expenditure (overall HICP).
[ii] The contribution to inflation of a specific product group shows how much of the change in the total expenditure is due to the price variation of this product group.