(Bloomberg) -- Euro-area inflation slowed last month after all, according to revised data that will support European Central Bank officials saying no more interest-rate hikes are needed.
Consumer prices increased 5.2% in August, down from an initial reading of 5.3%, which had matched July’s number. Core inflation, which excludes volatile elements like food and energy and is a key gauge for policymakers, was confirmed at 5.3%.
The ECB raised borrowing costs for a 10th consecutive time last week, pushing the deposit rate to a record 4% in what investors reckon was the final step in this tightening cycle.
ECB Vice President Luis de Guindos, Estonia’s Madis Muller and Slovakia’s Peter Kazimir have suggested they agree. President Christine Lagarde, however, has pushed back against such assumptions and hawkish officials including Austria’s Robert Holzmann, Latvia’s Martins Kazaks and Slovenia’s Bostjan Vasle have said more moves may yet be required.
What Bloomberg Economics Says...
“We project both headline and core inflation will decelerate markedly in September. On Sept. 14, the ECB signaled that borrowing costs may be high enough to return inflation to target. The persistent decline in underlying inflation measures that was confirmed again in August should offer the Governing Council further reassurance on this assessment. Provided price pressures continue on that trend, which we expect, this hiking cycle is probably over.”
—Maeva Cousin, senior euro-area economist. For full react, click here
The current level of rates is a “plateau,” but it’s unclear how long borrowing costs will stay there, according to Bank of France Governor Francois Villeroy de Galhau.
“We are very pragmatic: we look at how the illness, inflation, evolves,” he said Tuesday. “There are the first encouraging signs, but as the illness diminishes, and one day disappears, that’s to say we get back toward 2%, we will stop taking the medicine and at that point ECB rates can come back down. We are not there today. It’s important to be patient.”
--With assistance from Joel Rinneby and Barbara Sladkowska.
(Updates with Bloomberg Economics after fourth paragraph.)
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