Italy registers weak inflation for May

Inflation hit a four-year low in Germany and was weak in Spain and Italy as well, data showed on Friday, a week after the European Central Bank revealed a battery of measures to fight off the spectre of deflation.

Italy registers weak inflation for May
Photo: Flickr

Final data showed that using the ECB's methodology German inflation tumbled to just 0.6 percent in May from 1.1 percent in April, hitting the lowest level since February 2010.

Meanwhile in Spain consumer prices rose by just 0.2 percent in the year to May, the national statistics office INE said.

In Italy inflation slid by 0.1 point to 0.4 percent in May, Istat said.  

Finland's inflation rate came in at 1.0 percent.

Eurostat is to release its updated reading for May inflation on Monday, with the initial reading showing it had dipped by 0.2 points to 0.5 percent.

Inflation is currently unusually low across the 18-nation eurozone, fuelling concerns the region could be on the brink of deflation — a sustained and widespread drop in prices.

Spain, the eurozone's fourth largest economy, saw prices drop by 0.2 percent in March on an annual basis.

While falling prices may sound good for consumers, deflation is actually dangerous for the economy because it can trigger a vicious spiral where businesses and households delay purchases, thus throttling demand and causing companies to lay off workers.

Such concerns persuaded the European Central Bank to cut interest rates at its monthly policy meeting last week and launch a series of other measures to ease monetary conditions in the single currency area.

On Thursday, Portugal said its inflation was minus 0.3 percent in May, while Slovakia said prices were unchanged using its national methodology.

Ireland reported its inflation rate was steady at 0.4 percent in May using ECB methodology, France said its inflation rate stayed at 0.8 percent.

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Italy has become a country of solo living

The number of single-person households is on the rise in Italy, fewer babies are being born and people are living longer, according to figures from Istat, the national statistics agency.

Italy has become a country of solo living
Stock image/Depositphotos

Italy’s low birth rate and aging population has long been recognised, but the more surprising aspect of Istat’s annual report for 2016 is that more people are living alone.

The rate of single-person households increased from 20.5 percent to 31.6 percent, while households made up of five or more people declined to 5.4 percent from 8.1 percent.

Meanwhile, the birthrate is continuing on its downward trend, with 12,342 fewer babies born in 2016 than in the previous year. Italy has the sixth lowest fertility rate in Europe, with 1.35 children born for every woman of child-bearing age.

At the same time, people are living longer, with life expectancy rising to 80.6 years for men and 85.1 years for women.

Italy’s population rate stood at 60,589,455 at the end of 2016, over 76,000 less than at the beginning of the year.

Foreigners make up 8.3 percent of the population, a figure that reflected little change from the previous year. The majority of Italy’s immigrant population come from the EU, followed by central and eastern Europe and North Africa.