Inflation in Greece posted a decade high of 4.3% in November, according to estimates by the statistical office of the European Union, up from 2.8% in October and approaching the eurozone average of 4.9%.
That rate concerned the European Union-harmonized rate that Eurostat uses for comparison purposes and, if it’s confirmed by the Hellenic Statistical Authority, it will match the rate last seen in March 2011 – the last time the index rose above 4%.
The Eurostat estimates validate fears that the consumer price index in Greece would start to rise faster compared to previous months. This is already evident in the smaller distance from the eurozone rate (at 0.6 percentage points last month from 1.3 in October) and the fact that Greece is no longer among the three countries with the lowest inflation in the eurozone.
It is energy rates that are making prices jump across the eurozone, as according to Eurostat this group of commodities rose 27.4% last month on an annual basis, against 23.7% in October.
The price hikes already implemented, and the prospect of more – particularly in the first quarter of 2022 – are causing more concern among Greek consumers than their European counterparts. The annual Intrum European Consumer Payment Report 2021 published yesterday showed Greeks are the most worried about the effects of the price hikes on their financial situations, at a rate of 86%. They are followed by the Latvians (84%), Romanians (83%), Poles (82%) and the Portuguese (81%). Intrum’s research covered 24 countries.
The serious concern over the impact of price hikes on households in Greece is related to a great extent to the fact that people say their disposable incomes have diminished compared to the pre-pandemic period, which is also evident in delays in payments of utility bills: Just over half (51%) of consumers in Greece admitted that they had delayed the payment of at least one bill over the last 12 months. That rate is 21 percentage points higher than the European average.