November 30, 2016 01:45 CST

Consensus Actual Previous
Year over Year 0.5% 0.5% 0.4%
Month over Month 0.0% 0.0%

Consumer prices were provisionally unchanged on the month in November. This was enough to add another tick to the annual inflation rate which now stands at 0.5 percent, in line with market expectations and equalling its highest mark since May 2014.

The flash HICP was also flat at October's level and this saw its yearly rate increase by a larger 0.2 percentage points to 0.7 percent.

However, the main upward pressure on the change in annual inflation came from food, where the rate climbed 0.4 percentage points to 0.3 percent, and energy, where the rate jumped 1.4 percentage points to 2.1 percent. Inflation in overall manufactured products was flat at minus 0.6 percent and in services steady at 1.0 percent.

With the increase in headline inflation dominated by the more volatile components of the CPI basket, the signs are that the underlying rate was at best only stable. This may well be reflected in the full Eurozone report, due shortly.

The consumer price index (CPI) is a measure of the average price level of a fixed basket of goods and services purchased by consumers. Monthly and annual changes in the CPI represent the main rates of inflation. The national CPI is released alongside the HICP, Eurostat's harmonized measure of consumer prices. A flash estimate was released for the first time in January 2016 and is now published towards the end of each reference month.

The consumer price index is the most widely followed indicator of inflation. An investor who understands how inflation influences the markets will benefit over those investors that do not understand the impact. In countries where monetary policy decisions rest on the central bank's inflation target, the rate of inflation directly affects all interest rates charged to business and the consumer. As a member of the European Monetary Union, France's interest rates are set by the European Central Bank.

France like other EMU countries has both a national CPI and a harmonized index of consumer prices (HICP). The HICP is calculated to give a comparable inflation measure for the EMU. Components and weights within the national CPI vary from other countries, reflecting national idiosyncrasies.

Inflation is an increase in the overall prices of goods and services. The relationship between inflation and interest rates is the key to understanding how indicators such as the CPI influence the markets - and your investments. As the rate of inflation changes and as expectations on inflation change, the markets adjust interest rates. The effect ripples across stocks, bonds, commodities, and your portfolio, often in a dramatic fashion.

By tracking inflation, whether high or low, rising or falling, investors can anticipate how different types of investments will perform. Over the long run, the bond market will rally (fall) when increases in the CPI are small (large). The equity market rallies with the bond market because low inflation promises low interest rates and is good for profits.