Inflation in the euro area slowed but remained well above the European Central Bank’s 2% target. In its effort to tame inflation, the ECB raised its three key interest rates for the seventh consecutive time at its May 2023 meeting. The pace of policy tightening slowed from 50 bps to 25 bps, but further rate hikes are expected. On Tuesday, Governing Council member Gediminas Šimkus stated that he expects the ECB to increase rates by 25 bps in June and July.
Today, on the macroeconomic front, the focus was on the preliminary May inflation data in the euro area. According to Eurostat, the annual consumer price index (CPI) slowed to 6.1% in May 2023, from 7.0% in April. The headline inflation was below the market forecast of 6.3% and the lowest since February 2022. Core CPI also slowed to 5.3% in May 2023, the lowest since January 2023. Latvia (12.3%), Slovakia (12.3%) and Estonia (11.2%) were among the EU countries with the highest annual inflation rates. Luxembourg (2.0%) and Belgium (2.7%) registered the lowest rates. Prices declined for energy (-1,7%) and food, alcohol & tobacco (12.5%).
The newly published data showed an easing of inflationary pressure. All eyes will be on the ECB meeting on 15 June.