According to the report from INSEE, consumer prices rose by 0.9% in March after increasing by 1% in February. Economists had expected an increase of 0.8%. The growth in energy prices slowed to 0.2% from 1.6% in February, which was due to a further drop in prices for petroleum products (-0.4% after -1.2%). Prices for services increased by 0.1% after a rise by 0.8% in February, while food prices increased by 1.8%, slightly accelerating compared to February (+1.7%). Prices of manufactured goods rose by 1.5% after an increase of 0.8% in February, and tobacco prices jumped by 7.6% after stabilizing in February..
In annual terms, CPI growth slowed to 5.7% from 6.3% per annum in February. Still, it remained well above the European Central Bank's target of 2%. Consensus estimates suggested an increase of 5.6%. The growth in energy prices slowed to 4.9% from 14.1% in February, while prices for manufactured goods rose by 4.8% after an increase of 4.7%. Prices for services rose 2.9% after a 3% increase in February, while food price growth accelerated to 15.9% from 14.8%. Tobacco prices jumped 7.8% after rising 0.2% in February.
Meanwhile, the core CPI increased by 6.2% in March, after +6.1% in February.
The data also showed that in March, the harmonized index of consumer prices (HICP) - an indicator that allows to compare inflation in France with inflation in European countries - grew by 1% on a monthly basis and by 6.7% per annum.