The start of the school year has finally passed, but many parents may have difficulty finishing the month of September without being in the red... The cause: an increase in the price of school supplies of 11.3% compared to last year, according to a survey by the Confederation of Families.
School supplies are not the only items of expenditure to weigh more and more heavily in the budget of the French. Food, fuel, gas… With the hiccups in global supply chains linked to Covid, then the soaring prices of energy and raw materials due to the war in Ukraine, France seems to have sunk into chronic inflation. To the point where you can't get out?
If we look at the INSEE figures, the worst seems to be behind us. After reaching a peak of 6.3% at the start of the year, the increase in the consumer price index in France was “only” 4.3% year-on-year in July. This drop does not mean that the prices on the labels are falling. During "disinflation", the increase is only smaller...
This downward trend unfortunately came to a halt last month. In August, inflation was higher than the previous month (4.8%), driven in particular by the increase in fuel and electricity prices. “With energy prices starting to rise again, we risk finding a new inflationary dynamic,” worries Patrick Artus, economic advisor at Natixis. In this scenario, the companies, affected by this new increase, would pass on the surge in their costs to the labels.
Fortunately, this scenario is very far from certain. "Rather, we have disinflation in the pipeline: producer prices, i.e. ex-factory prices, have been falling for several months, which will eventually affect the labels: we We will gradually return to 2 or 3% inflation, but for the moment it is difficult to know at what pace, "said Sylvain Bersinger, chief economist at Asterès.
Another reason to hope: “There is no price-salary loop, remuneration tends to run after price increases; nor a price-profit loop, even if certain companies have had catch-up or anticipation behavior, these will probably fade because demand is no longer there,” adds Anthony Morlet-Lavidalie, economist at BSI Economics. The slowdown in the Chinese economy, the ogre that is swallowing up much of the world's raw materials, should also contribute to the slowdown in inflation.
But another debate animates economists. While it is certain that we will not return to pre-Covid price levels, because wages have increased in the meantime, will we again experience the very moderate inflation that seemed to be the new normal before the outbreak? For some experts, this is impossible. “The energy transition, relocations or tensions on the job market are inflationary,” believes Patrick Artus.
Others rather see the aging of the population as a factor in falling prices: “We have not emerged from secular stagnation: in five years, central banks will once again do everything to avoid deflation,” predicts Anthony Morlet- Lavidalie. Your bets!