BERLIN, June 14 (Xinhua) -- Rising energy prices propelled German inflation upward in May, figures published on Thursday by the Federal Statistical Office showed.
The consumer price index compiled by the Federal Statistical Office rose by an annual rate of 2.2 percent in May 2018 compared to the same period last year, and by a monthly rate of 0.5 percent compared to April 2018.
The 2.2 percent annual increase in consumer prices constituted the fastest pace of German inflation measured since February 2017.
The Federal Statistical Office largely attributed the development to a sharp 5.7-percent rise in average energy prices compared to the previous month. In particular, heating oil (plus 24.3 percent) and motor fuels (plus 8.2 percent) became more expensive.
Speaking to Xinhua on Thursday, Thiess Petersen, senior economics expert at the Bertelsmann Foundation, said "the price of oil has risen significantly in recent months while a depreciation in the value of the euro as of mid-April made imported goods and services more expensive".
Once energy prices were excluded from the official measurements, Germany's inflation rate in May was only 1.8 percent. The Federal Statistical Office emphasized, however, that food prices also rose faster than usual (plus 3.5 percent) between May 2017 and May 2018. The trend affected all sub-categories of foodstuffs, with the price of butter rising by 32.3 percent alone.
By contrast, annual consumer price inflation in Germany was less pronounced for goods (2.5 percent on average) and services (1.9 percent on average). Some products within these categories witnessed declines in the cost shouldered by domestic consumers, including electronic and information technology devices (minus 4.2 percent) and airline tickets (minus 2.3 percent).
According to Petersen, another reason for the relatively high inflation was that "the German economy is currently experiencing a long phase of growth and is increasingly approaching the limits of its productive capacity."
The Bertelsmann expert predicted that the overall inflation rate for the year 2018 would most likely average "around 2 percent" in the end. Petersen noted that although this figure would only mark a slight increase compared to 2017 (1.8 percent), it would still represent a considerable rise in consumer prices after the low inflation measured in 2015 and 2016 (both 0.5 percent). Enditem