Which prices are up, which are down?
In July 2020, consumer goods and services in the Netherlands were on average 1.7 percent more expensive than one year previously. In the first seven months of 2020, prices were on average 1.5 percent higher than in the same period in 2019. Inflation was 1.8 percent in January, fell to 1.2 percent in April and May, and rose again in June and July. Inflation was still 2.6 percent in 2019.
Tobacco products considerably more expensive
The prices of tobacco products have risen sharply in 2020. In July 2020, tobacco prices were nearly 19 percent higher than in the same month twelve months previously. This price increase is mainly the result of two excise duty hikes. As of 1 April, the excise duty on a packet of 20 cigarettes was increased by 1 euro, after it had already risen by 14 cents on 1 January. An additional 2.50 euros in excise has been levied on 50 grams of rolling tobacco since 1 April. Never before has an excise duty hike been as hefty as the April increase of this year. In fact, the cost of smoking has been rising for some time now: since July 2000 the price of tobacco products has risen by more than 200 percent.
Over the same period, prices of all consumer goods and services rose by 45 percent.
Food slightly more expensive
In the first six months of 2020, price changes for food products and non-alcoholic beverages also led to higher inflation. The price increase was relatively high in March, April and May, in particular. Prices were 3.5 percent higher in April than in they had been in 2019. In that month, meat products were 8 percent more expensive than one year before, and fruit 6.4 percent. Prices of food products and non-alcoholic beverages were 1.9 percent higher in July 2020 than in July 2019, i.e. the price increase is comparable to the level of inflation for all consumer goods and services.
The average consumer energy bill fell sharply in 2020: in July 2020 energy bills were 12.9 percent lower compared to one year earlier. This is due to amended tax rules and developments in the energy market. The largest difference is found in the tax credit received by each household. This year, households are receiving a fixed amount of 216 more euros in their energy tax rebate compared to 2019. Variable supply tariffs for gas and electricity also fell in the first half of 2020.
Savings at the pump
Motor fuel prices also fell in the first months of 2020. Taken together, petrol, diesel and LPG were 14.1 percent cheaper in May 2020 than in May of the previous year. The price development of petrol is partly determined by crude oil, which fell in price at the start of 2020. After May, fuel prices recovered somewhat, but in July 2020 prices were still 7.1 percent lower than twelve months previously.