PARIS — French consumer prices stopped rising in August, data from the national statistics body showed on Wednesday, in line with the government’s view that inflation in the euro zone’s second-biggest economy had reached its peak last month.
The preliminary figures, released by France’s INSEE institute, showed EU-harmonized yearly inflation stood at 6.5%, down from 6.8% in July, and below a 6.7% estimate by analysts in a Reuters poll.
Separately, INSEE on Wednesday confirmed a preliminary reading according to which the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) growth reached 0.5% in the second quarter.
Inflation is near double-digit territory in many of the world’s biggest economies, a level not seen in close to a half-century
On Tuesday, Germany posted its highest inflation level in almost 50 years, 8.8%, strengthening the case for the European Central Bank to go for a larger basis-point interest rate increase next month.
As elsewhere, French inflation in August was driven by soaring energy and food prices, mainly resulting from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
The French government has aggressively sought to protect consumers from the inflation burden by spending billions on measures ranging from a gas price freeze, to electricity price caps and a special rebate on pump tariffs.
As a result, French inflation has consistently come in lower than all other euro zone countries apart from Malta.
Last week, France reported the first rise in consumer morale in seven months.
(Reporting by Tassilo Hummel Editing by GV De Clercq)