Annual rate of inflation hits 20-year high, reaching 5.5% in December
New figures from the Central Statistics Office show rising inflation has resulted in increases across a range of products, including bread rising by 5.3% while crisps increased by 7%.
Overall food and non-alcoholic drinks are up 1.6% on an annual basis, with increases too in energy and fuel costs.
The CSO says the annual rate of inflation rose by 5.5% in December, which is an increase on 5.3% recorded in November, and is the highest annual rate since April 2001.
On an annual basis, today’s figures show that diesel prices rose by 36%, while petrol prices increased by 32% and airfares were up 66%.
Prices for electricity were up 22.4% while gas was up 28%. The cost of home heating oil was up 53%.
Private sector rents were up 8.4%, today’s figures show.
The CSO said that food prices have also started to go up with price increases recorded across a range of products, including bread rising by 5.3% while crisps increased by 7%. Overall food and non-alcoholic drinks are up 1.6% on an annual basis.
Inflation really began to take off in the second half of last year, with higher energy prices.
Prices were still falling on an annual basis until February. That contributed to the fact that overall, the average annual inflation for 2021 was 2.4%.
This compares to a fall of 0.3% in 2020 and an increase of 0.9% in 2019.
Energy products rose on average by 12.3% last year compared to a fall of 5% in 2020. The price of goods went up an average 1.5% in 2021 compared to a fall of 2.2% in 2020.
The CSO has also calculated inflation for the years between 2017 and 2021 with the overall increase over this period of 3.5%.
Housing, Water, Electricity, Gas and other fuels showed the largest increase over this period, going up by 14%. But there was 12.4% decrease in the price of Communications and a 4.2% decrease in Food and Non-Alcoholic beverages.
Euro zone inflation also rose last month, increasing to 5% from 4.9% in November, a record high for the currency bloc and well ahead of analysts’ expectation for 4.7%.
Meanwhile, UK inflation rose faster than expected to a near 30-year high in December, intensifying a squeeze on living standards and putting pressure on the Bank of England to raise interest rates again.
UK consumer price inflation increased to 5.4% from November’s 5.1%, the highest since March 1992, the Office for National Statistics said.