Inflation in Belgium rose further in August to 2.73%, mainly driven by higher energy prices. As a result, the pivotal indicator has also been exceeded, which means that social benefits, pensions and civil servant wages will rise by 2% in the coming months. This is evidenced by figures released by the statistics office Statbel on Monday.
Inflation – the rate at which consumer prices rise – accelerated for the seventh consecutive month. At 2.73 percent, it is at the highest level since November 2018.
The high inflation is mainly due to the high cost of energy. “Natural gas and electricity prices are currently above the high level at the end of 2018. For electricity, prices are even at an all-time high,” says Statbel. Natural gas was about half (49.4 percent) more expensive in August than in August 2020, and electricity was 17.4 percent. Gasoline and diesel cost about 15 percent, and LPG became 41 percent more expensive. Home heating oil was 13 percent cheaper than it was in August last year.
On the other hand, prices of food and non-alcoholic beverages were lower in August than they were twelve months ago. They were on average 0.34 percent cheaper. For example, fresh fruit and potatoes were about 5 percent cheaper in August than they were in August 2020. In addition, TVs and smartwatches are about 10 percent cheaper.
Due to high inflation, the central index has also been exceeded. This is earlier than expected: so far the planning office has assumed this will happen in October. Because of the increase, social benefits and pensions will be increased by 2% in September, with public sector wages tracking in October, according to Statbel.
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