German annual producer price inflation topped 30% in March, the country’s Federal Statistics Office said on Wednesday. That’s its highest level since the agency began collecting data 73 years ago.
The biggest culprit? Energy prices, which rose nearly 84% from the same month last year.
“Mainly responsible for the high rise of energy prices were the strong price increases of natural gas… which was [up] 144.8% on March 2021,” the statistics office said in a statement.
Consumers should brace themselves. Factory gate inflation feeds into retail prices, and shoppers can expect to spend more on everything from furniture to meat, according to Wednesday’s figures.
“It is not possible that this ends without costs for German society, it is unthinkable,” he said last month.
Soaring prices have rattled a country that has long prided itself on its stable economy, and that still carries a deep-rooted fear of the kind of hyperinflation of the 1920s and 1930s that is widely thought to have helped the Nazi party rise to power.
ECB President Christine Lagarde said last week she needed to keep her options open, given the uncertain outlook for the region’s economy, and reiterated that the bank would only raise the cost of borrowing after it winds down its purchases of government bonds at some point in the third quarter.
— Mitchell McCluskey contributed reporting.