Dutch inflation was 1.9 percent in January, the same as in December 2008, whereas over the last four months of 2008, inflation decreased substantially.
Energy prices pushed up inflation. In January, gas and electricity prices were nearly 14 percent up on one year previously, as against nearly 8 percent in December. Clothing prices, on the other hand, had a downward effect on inflation. In January, clothes were more than 4 percent cheaper than one year previously. In December 2008, clothing prices were approximately the same as in December 2007.
With 1.0 percentage points, housing, water and energy costs contributed most to inflation. The contribution of food, tobacco and alcoholic drinks was also considerable. Food contributed 0.4 percentage points to inflation, tobacco and alcoholic drinks accounted for 0.3 percentage points. Car fuel and clothing prices had a downward effect on inflation of 0.5 and 0.2 percentage points respectively.
The harmonised consumer price index (HICP) allows comparison between the various member states of the European Union (EU). According to the HICP, Dutch inflation was 1.7 percent in January and equalled inflation in December. Dutch inflation was much higher than the overall rate in the eurozone. Eurostat, the European statistical office, calculated an inflation rate in the eurozone of 1.1 percent in January, as against 1.6 percent in December. The decrease in the euro zone was due to lower energy prices. In most European countries, changes in oil prices are passed on to the customer more rapidly than in the Netherlands.
Inflation is calculated as the increase of the consumer price index (CPI) relative to the same month in the previous year.