Mon Apr 30 07:00:00 CDT 2018

Consensus Actual Previous
Month over Month 0.0% 0.0% 0.4%
Year over Year 1.6% 1.6% 1.6%

According to the provisional data, inflation evolved much as expected in April. An unchanged CPI on the month put the annual inflation rate at 1.6 percent, matching its final outturn in March and still short of the rates seen in late 2017.

The flash HICP was a little softer, recording a 0.1 percent monthly dip that reduced its yearly rate from 1.5 percent to 1.4 percent. This supports the view that the early Easter played a role in the jump in March.

Somewhat ominously, the stability of annual CPI inflation this month was largely due to energy, where the rate climbed 0.7 percentage points to 1.2 percent, and food, which saw a 0.5 percentage point spurt to 3.4 percent. The rises here effectively offset a surprisingly sizeable 0.3 percentage point fall in services from 1.8 percent to 1.5 percent. Overall goods inflation moved up from 1.4 percent to 1.6 percent while rent, excluding utilities, was steady at 1.6 percent.

Today's German results will provide only limited underpinning for the overall Eurozone inflation rate (flash April data due Thursday) and, more importantly, they will also increase the risk of a renewed slowdown in the underlying rate. If confirmed, the ECB will not be happy.

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 provide widely used measures of inflation. A provisional estimate, with limited detail, is released about two weeks before the final data are reported.

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 such as Germany 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, Germany's interest rates are set by the European Central Bank.

Germany 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. The preliminary release is based on key state numbers which are released prior to the national estimate. The states include North Rhine-Westphalia, Baden-Württemberg, Saxony, Hesse, Bavaria and Brandenburg. The release date is not announced in advance but the preliminary estimate of the CPI follows in the same day after the last of state releases. The data are revised about two weeks after preliminary release.

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.