Consumer prices provisionally rose 0.3 percent on the month in July. This put the annual inflation rate at 1.5 percent, up a couple of ticks from June's final print and its highest reading since April 2017.
The flash HICP was down a hefty, but largely seasonal, 1.4 percent versus June to yield a 1.9 percent 12-month rate, 0.5 percentage points firmer than at quarter-end and also its strongest mark since April last year.
However, the acceleration in annual inflation was dominated by regulated energy charges where the rate jumped from minus 1.2 percent to 5.3 percent. The impact of this was only partially offset by a slowdown in transport services (1.7 percent after 2.9 percent). Significantly, the core rate, which excludes unprocessed food and energy, dipped from 0.8 percent to 0.7 percent, effectively leaving intact a longstanding flat underlying trend.
Accordingly, the headline data are misleadingly strong. On current trends, underlying Italian inflation looks likely to remain subdued for a long while yet.