German import prices rise at fastest rate in 40 years By Reuters

© Reuters. Containers are seen at a terminal in the port of Hamburg, Germany November 14, 2019. REUTERS/Fabian Bimmer

BERLIN (Reuters) – German import prices rose the fastest in 40 years last month, driven by a jump in the price of oil and gas, and supply chain bottlenecks for raw materials worsened further, pointing to a further rise in prices for consumers.

Import prices jumped 16.5% in August from a year earlier, the Federal Statistics Office said on Wednesday, which was above economists’ forecasts for a 16.1% increase and up from 15.0% in July.

The August increase was the steepest rise since September 1981, when the second oil crisis pushed prices up by 17.4%.

The price of energy imports was up 93.6% in August compared with a year earlier, mainly due to a strong rise in the price of , the Statistics Office said.

The price of many raw materials rose steeply as well. Iron ore cost 96.8% more in August, and the price of sawn and planed wood was up 61.6%, and basic iron, steel and ferro-alloys were up by 57.7%.

At the same time, supply chain bottlenecks affecting German companies worsened further, a survey published by the Ifo institute on Wednesday showed.

Some 77.4% of German industrial firms reported difficulties procuring intermediates and raw materials this month. Among car companies, that figure was at 97%, Ifo said.

“There are many orders, but companies cannot produce them right now,” Ifo economist Klaus Wohlrabe said. As a result, more companies are now planning to increase prices, Ifo said.

Economists expect German flash inflation figures due on Thursday to show the rise in consumer prices, harmonised to make them comparable with inflation data from other European Union countries (HICP), accelerated further to 4.0% in September, from 3.4% in August, according to Refinitiv data.

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