The euro area (EA) annual inflation rate increased 1.6% month-on-month to 2.0% in May 2021, while in the European Union (EU) it reached 2.3% in May, from 2.0% in April, according to the latest data from Eurostat.
Since the beginning of 2020, inflation in the EU and the euro area has developed very differently for various goods and services, with some groups of goods and services being more affected than others by the COVID-19 pandemic, Eurostat noted.
Between January 2020 and May 2021, the largest price variations in the EU were reported for the ‘transportation’ and ‘clothing and footwear’ categories.
Prices for ‘transportation’ saw a sharp decline in the first months of 2020 and were 4.9% lower in May 2020 than a year earlier.
However, the cost of transportation began increasing again, and by May 2021, prices were 7.3% higher than in May 2020.
In the ‘clothing and footwear’ category, the annual inflation rate peaked at 5.4% in July 2020 and a low of -2.1% in December 2020.
The ‘food and non-alcoholic beverages’ and ‘housing, water, electricity, gas and other fuels’ sectors also experienced significant fluctuations during the same period in the EU.
The annual inflation rate for ‘food and non-alcoholic beverages’ increased during the first months of 2020, reaching a peak of 4.3% in April 2020 before dropping to a low of 0.2% in May 2021.
The ‘housing, water, electricity, gas and other fuels’ category, on the other hand, saw a decline during the first months of 2020, with prices 0.6% lower in May 2020 than a year earlier.
However, prices began increasing again, taking the inflation rate to 3.7% in May 2021, Eurostat added.
These categories also witnessed similar fluctuations in the euro area during the same period.
The annual inflation rate for ‘transportation’ ranged between 6.6% in May 2021 to -4.5% in May 2020, while ‘clothing and footwear’ changed from 6.3% in July 2020 to -2.2% in December 2020.
The ‘food and non-alcoholic beverages’ category saw the annual inflation rate range from 3.6% in April 2020 to 0% in April 2021, while ‘housing, water, electricity, gas and other fuels’ went from -1.3% in May 2020 to 3.5% in May 2021.
Elsewhere, the euro zone's unadjusted trade surplus was almost five times higher in April than a year earlier, driven by a strong rebound in exports of machinery and cars, but was still smaller than expected, Eurostat data has revealed.