Consumer price index

Inflation amounts to 3.37%

Consumer prices
Inflation amounts to 3.37%

Consumer price index of April 2024

  • Inflation went up from 3.18% to 3.37% in April.
  • The consumer price index this month decreases by 0.63 points or 0.48%.
  • Inflation based on the health index has increased from 3.09% to 3.28%.
  • The smoothed health index stands at 128.32 points in April. The central index for public service and social benefits, set at 128.11 points, was therefore exceeded.
  • Inflation for food products (including alcoholic beverages) has decreased for the 13th month in a row and stands at 0.25% this month, compared to 3.21% in March. The contribution of food products to inflation currently amounts to 0.06 percentage points.
  • Core inflation, which does not take into account price evolutions of energy products and unprocessed food, has decreased for the 11th month in a row and stands at 3.26% in April, compared to 3.85% in March.
  • The most significant price increases in April concerned motor fuels, hotel rooms and restaurants and cafés. However, dairy products, fruit, meat, bread and cereals, clothes, travels abroad and city trips, electricity, fish and seafood, products for pets and holiday villages had a decreasing effect on the index.

Inflation stands at 3.37% in April compared to 3.18% in March and 3.20% in February. Inflation based on the health index amounts to 3.28% this month compared to 3.09% in March and 3.22% in February. Inflation without energy has decreased to 2.87% from 3.86% in March and 5.04% in February. Core inflation, which does not take into account price evolutions of energy products and unprocessed food, was running at 3.26% in April, compared to 3.85% in March and 4.25% in February.

Comment on inflation

With regard to energy, we have seen for the first time since March 2023 a positive inflation. It now stands at 9.19%, compared to -1.61% last month and -5.34% in February. For electricity, inflation is currently at 1.9% compared to -14.9% last month. For natural gas, it went from 29.0% last month to 87.5% this month. Compared to the previous month, prices for natural gas decreased by 2.3% and those for electricity by 2.4%. The increase in inflation in recent months is the result of the extinction of the impact of the basic package for electricity and natural gas. In March, the last effect of the basic package disappeared from the index. The disappearance of the basic package will have an increasing effect on inflation until March 2025. Prices for domestic heating oil, calculated based on a smoothed 12-month moving average, have declined by 6.1% over a year. Motor fuels cost 3.4% more than in April last year and increased by 3.2% this month compared to the previous month.

Inflation for services has declined to 4.93% from 5.04%. Inflation for rents has edged down to 5.43% from 5.62%. Inflation for food products (including alcoholic beverages) stands at 0.25% this month, compared to 3.21% last month. This inflation has increased sharply since early 2022 and reached a peak at 17.02% in March 2023. Since then, it has gradually decreased to the level of 0.25% in April 2024.

Energy inflation goes from -1.61% in March to 9.19% in April and accounts for 0.77 percentage points to total inflation. Food, with an inflation rate of 0.25%, accounts for 0.06 percentage points.

The price of natural gas has decreased by 2.3% in April compared to the previous month. Prices for electricity have gone down by 2.4% on average this month.

Some products and services that rose sharply in price compared to April last year are:

Upward: Inflation
Natural gas 87.5%
Fresh seafood 32.6%
Other tobacco products (loose tobacco) 24.5%
Non-alcoholic beers 21.9%
Lager beer 20.4%
Olive oil 17.4%
Wine from other fruits (cider) 17.1%
Newspapers 14.3%

Some products and services that fell sharply in price compared to April last year are:

Downward: Inflation
Smartphones -16.5%
Video equipment (TV, ...) -15.0%
Pizza and quiche -14.6%
Personal computers (laptops) -12.3%
Pasta and couscous -9.0%
Pre-recorded media storage (DVD, Bluray…) -9.0%
Tea -8.9%
Mobile telephone services -8.8%

The main group with the largest upward effect [i] on inflation in April was “Housing, water and energy” with an effect on inflation of 0.75 percentage points. The largest downward effect was measured for “Food and non-alcoholic beverages” with -0.83 percentage points.

The main group with the largest contribution [ii] to inflation is “Housing, water and energy” with 1.17 percentage points. The smallest contribution to inflation was made by the group “Food and non-alcoholic beverages”, with -0.03 percentage points.

The first inflation estimate according to the European harmonised index of consumer prices (HICP flash estimate) for Belgium amounts to 4.9% in April 2024.

Comment on the level of the indices

The consumer price index has decreased by 0.63 points or 0.48% in April 2024 and now amounts to 131.10 points, compared to 131.73 points in March 2024 (2013=100). The health index fell by 0.90 points to 130.85 points in April, compared to 131.75 points in March. The smoothed health index stands at 128.32 points in April. The central index for public service and social benefits, set at 128.11 points, was therefore exceeded. This means that social security benefits and pensions will be raised by 2% in May. Wages in the public sector will be indexed by 2% in June. The last time the central index was exceeded was in October 2023. The next central index for public service and social benefits is set at 130.67 points.

The most significant price increases in April concerned motor fuels, hotel rooms and restaurants and cafés. However, dairy products, fruit, meat, bread and cereals, clothes, travels abroad and city trips, electricity, fish and seafood, products for pets and holiday villages had a decreasing effect on the index.

The most important trends this month are:

Upward: Effect: Downward: Effect:
Motor fuels +0.145 points Dairy products -0.125 points
Hotel rooms +0.090 points Fruit -0.120 points
Restaurants and cafés +0.050 points Meat -0.085 points
    Bread and cereals -0.075 points
    Clothing -0.070 points
    Travels abroad and city trips -0.065 points
    Electricity -0.060 points
    Fish and seafood -0.060 points
    Products for pets -0.060 points
    Holiday villages -0.060 points

Prices for motor fuels have gone up by 3.2% on average this month. Hotel rooms went up by 6.8% this month. Prices in restaurants and cafés increased on average by 0.6%.

Dairy products have become on average 4.0% less expensive this month. Fruit and meat were 5.7% and 1.6% cheaper, respectively. Prices for bread and cereals have fallen by 1.7% on average. Clothes have cost on average 1.3% less this month. Travels abroad and city trips became on average 2.2% less expensive. The price of electricity decreased by 2.4% on average. Fish and seafood as well as products for pets were on average 4.0% and 4.7% cheaper, respectively. Prices for holiday villages decreased on average by 5.6%.

2013 = 100 January February March April
Consumer price index 130.08 131.01 131.73 131.10
Inflation 1.75% 3.20% 3.18% 3.37%
Health index 130.19 130.95 131.75 130.85
Smoothed health index* 126.56 127.21 127.99 128.32
* 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 CPI).

[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.

Indices
Content

Consumer price index, inflation, health index, health index (moving average), index without energy and petroleum, last 13 months

be.STAT logoAccess to latest statistics

Chart
Content
Base year
Inflation
Chart
Content
4 groups
Chart
Content

Purpose and brief description

The consumer price index is an economic indicator whose main task is to objectively reflect the price evolution over time for a basket of goods and services purchased by households and considered representative of their consumer habits. The index does not necessarily measure the price level of this basket for a specific period of time, but rather the fluctuation between two periods, the first one acting as basis for comparison. Moreover, this difference in the price level is not measured in absolute, but in relative terms. The consumer price index can be determined as a hundred times the ratio between the observed prices of a range of goods and services at a given time and the prices of the same goods and services, observed under the same circumstances during the reference period, chosen as basis for comparison. Price observations always take place in the same regions.

Since 2014, the consumer price index has been a chain index in which the weighting reference period is regularly shifted and prices and quantities are no longer compared between the current period and a fixed reference period, but the current period is compared with an intermediate period. By multiplying these short-term indices, and so creating a chain, we get a long-term series with a fixed reference period.

Population

Belgian private households

Data collection method and possible sampling

Survey technique applied using a computer, based on the use of electronic questionnaires and laptops.

Frequency

Monthly.

Timing of publication

The results are available on the penultimate working day of the reference period.

Definitions

Weight (CPI): The weight represents the importance of the goods and services included in the CPI in the total expenditure patterns of the households. Weights are determined based on the household budget survey.

Consumer price index (CPI): The consumer price index is an economic indicator whose main task is to objectively reflect the price evolution over time for a basket of goods and services purchased by households and considered representative of their consumer habits.

Health index: The health index is derived from the consumer price index and has been published since January 1994. The current value of this index is determined by removing a number of products from the consumer price index product basket, in particular alcoholic beverages (bought in a shop or consumed in a bar), tobacco products and motor fuels except for LPG.

Inflation: Inflation is defined as the ratio between the value of the consumer price index of a given month and the index of the same month the year before. Therefore, inflation measures the rhythm of the evolution of the overall price level.

Consumer price index without petroleum products: This index is calculated by removing the following products from the consumer price index: butane, propane, liquid fuels and motor fuels.

Consumer price index without energy products: This index is calculated by removing the following products from the consumer price index: electricity, natural gas, butane, propane, liquid fuels, solid fuels and motor fuels.

Smoothed index: The smoothed health index, also called smoothed index (the average value of the health indexes of the last 4 months) is used as a basis for the indexation of retirement pensions, social security benefits and some salaries and wages. Public wages and social benefits are indexed as soon as the smoothed index reaches a given value, called the central index. The smoothed index is also called moving average.

In order to perform a 2% index jump (laid down in the Law of 23 April 2015 on employment promotion), the smoothed health index has been temporarily blocked at its value of March 2015 (100.66). The smoothed health index was then reduced by 2% from April 2015. When the reduced smoothed health index (also called the reference index) had increased again by 2% or in other words when it had exceeded the value of 100.66, the index was no longer blocked. It occurred in April 2016.

Since April 2016 the smoothed health index is calculated in the same manner as the reference index and therefore corresponds to the arithmetical mean of the health indexes of the last 4 months multiplied by a factor of 0.98.

The central index is a predetermined threshold value against which the smoothed health index is compared. If the central index is reached or exceeded, there is an indexation of the wages and salaries or benefits. This indexation is proportional to the percentage between the old and the new central index. For the public sector and social benefits, the difference between the central indices always amounts to 2 %. Therefore, a 2 % indexation is applied every time the central index is reached. There are also collective labour agreements according to which the difference between the central indices amounts to 1 % or 1.5 %. The reaching of a central index then leads to an indexation of 1 % or 1,5 %.
See also: https://bosa.belgium.be/nl/themas/werken-bij-de-overheid/verloning-en-voordelen/loonwedde/indexatie/indexatie-algemene
And : https://bosa.belgium.be/fr/themes/travailler-dans-la-fonction-publique/remuneration-et-avantages/traitement/indexation-0

An 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 CPI).

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.

Metadata

Index-phone

02/277.56.40