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Spanish Underlying Inflation Holds Steady as Economy Stalls

Spain’s underlying inflation rate was unchanged in November as the economy weakened and unemployment surged.

Core consumer prices, which exclude energy and fresh food, gained 1.7 percent from a year earlier, the same as the previous month, the National Statistics Institute in Madrid said today. Headline inflation, based on European Union calculations, was 2.9 percent, matching an initial estimate on Nov. 29.

Spain’s economy stalled in the third quarter and has probably weakened further in the last three months of the year, the Bank of Spain said on Nov. 30. Unemployment of almost 23 percent is dissuading consumers from spending, prompting fashion retailers including Cortefiel to offer 50 percent discounts in the run-up to the holiday season.

Retail sales slumped 7 percent from a year earlier in October, the 16th decline in a row. Sales have fallen every month except two since December 2007, according to INE data. Unemployment is the highest in the European Union and the most since the EU’s statistics institute started compiling the data in 1983.

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