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Inflation Surge Hits United States, Greece

Inflation is hitting the US and Greek economies hard this holiday season, with rates in the US as high as they were back in 1982. Credit: Wikipedia/ Public Domain

The scourge of inflation is hitting the United States and Greece hard this holiday season, with high prices for fuel oil and gas causing reverberations throughout the entire economy of the world.

Consumer prices in the US rose 6.8% in November in the largest increase since 1982, according to figures that were released on Friday.

The financial crunch takes place after the punishing months of the pandemic; now with unemployment at almost historic lows, a key measure of inflation rose to heights not approached since June of 1982.

Consumer prices rose by a staggering 6.8%, without seasonal adjustments over the last year, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday.

Without counting prices for food and energy, which are traditionally more changeable, inflation rose an incredible 4.9% over the same period, from November of 2020 to last month, reaching levels not seen since June of 1991.

There was the tiniest of month-to-month decreases on a seasonally adjusted basis from October 2021 through November, with prices increasing 0.8% last month compared to the  0.9% increase they saw in October.

Without counting the costs of food and energy, prices rose 0.5% last month, which also represents a slight decrease from the 0.6% increase in October.

Americans are feeling the pinch of inflation at the pump more Ethan anywhere else, however, gas prices jumped 58.1% over the last year ending in November. Marking a return to the dark days 1980, this showed the largest increase since April of that year.

Prices for both food and energy spiked to 13-year highs, representing  increases of 6.1% and 33.3% respectively over the last year.

The report states that the cost of groceries alone marks the largest increase since December of 2008. Meanwhile, as many Americans continue to flock to restaurants that they were unable to patronize last year, restaurant tabs jumped 5.8%, which is the largest increase since January of 1982.

Perhaps oddly, the cost of car insurance dropped by 0.8 % over the last month,
along with prices for recreational activities and communication, which declined 0.2%.

Greece’s annual inflation rate jumped early as high, up to 4.8% in November from 3.4% in October and after a negative -2.1% reading in November 2020, the country’s National Statistical Authority said on Friday.

Costs for energy soared in the last twelve months, with natural gas prices up an astonishing 180.9%, heating oil up 45.2%, electricity up 37.8% and fuel up 24.9%.

Food costs increased apace, including for lamb, which rose 21.3%, olive oil, at 18.5%, potatoes, at 11.9%, fresh fish at 9.8%, bread at 4.3%, coffee at 3.9% and cheese, at 3.5%.

On a monthly basis, huge price increases were recorded in natural gas in particular at 31.7%, and electricity at 15.9%.  New cars experienced much less of a price rise at an increase of 1.3%.

The statistics service said the increase in the consumer price index in November reflected increases in: food/beverages at 3.5%, clothing/footwear at 3.9%, housing at 17.7%, durable goods at 2.3%, transport at 9.3%, and hospitality at 1.3%.

Interestingly, the consumer price index actually fell in some areas, with a 0.1% drop in alcohol/tobacco, 0.1% in health, 2.7% in communications, 0.3% in entertainment and 0.7% in other goods and services.

Greece’s adjusted inflation rate 4.0% in November

The consumer price index overall in Greece rose 0.5% in November over the month prior, after a 0.9% decline recorded in the same period last year. Greece’s adjusted inflation rate was 4.0% in November, up sharply from 2.8% in October and -2.1% in November 2020.

On a monthly basis, the adjusted index was up 0.3% in November from October 2021.

Euro area annual inflation rate up in similar metrics

Annual inflation throughout the Euro area is expected to be 4.9 % in November 2021, up from 4.1 % in October 2021.

Looking at the main components of euro area inflation, energy is expected to have the highest annual rate in November, up by  more than a quarter, or 27.4 %, compared with 23.7 % in October, followed by services, which are up 2.7 %, compared with 2.1 % in October, non-energy industrial goods, which rose by 2.4 %, compared with 2.0 % in October.

Costs for food, alcohol & tobacco were up by 2.2 %, compared with 1.9 % in October.

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